Social media have changed the manner, in which critical business is carried out across the globe, including sensitive government security operations.

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Police Officers and Social Media
Social media have changed the manner, in which critical business is carried out across the globe, including sensitive government security operations. Today, the law enforcement officers are effectively making use of social network to fight crime. As Roufa puts, “…Social networking is providing (police) officers new avenues and tools to help them solve crimes.” The media platforms offer the police officers a more effective way of communicating with the communities; enable informed local engagement and consultation, as well as a chance to exhibit accountability and transparency by making clarifications on some of the public concerns.
However, despite of the right to utilize social media for the social engagement, the extent of engagement should not extend to giving opinions, or otherwise discussing critical issues of their department. These engagements, according to a publication by Derbyshire Constabulary (pg5), bear “some risks to personal and organizational security or reputation.” The risks lead to reduced trust and confidence of the public in the police department and the security sector as a whole through a possible disclosure of confidential information about the police service and colleagues. Consequently, the loss of public confidence in the police service results to discredit to the service. Besides, there exists a possible show of disagreement and division within the police service with may lead to revelation of confidential operational material and tactics. As a result, ongoing investigations stand to be prejudiced.
In as much as the police officers, just as civilians, have a right to be critical of an incident, the officers must act responsibly bearing the potential risks. They should therefore be guided by the responsibility to make informed decisions and act in a way that makes possible an effective and safe use of social media. Alternative channels of airing critiques should however be made available to them to minimize chances of utilizing social media for the same reasons.

References
Derbyshire Constabulary. Guidance on the safe use of the internet and social media by police officers and police staff. Published in October 2012. Reviewed in March 2017. Pg 1-12. Retrieved from http://www.derbyshire.police.uk/Documents/About-Us/Freedom-of-Information/Policies/SafeUseoftheInternetandSocialMediabyPoliceOfficersandPoliceStaffGuidance.pdf
Roufa, T. The Use of Social Media Monitoring Tools for Law Enforcement. Updated November 13, 2017. Retrieved from https://www.thebalance.com/social-networking-and-law-enforcement-974548