A Message To My Former Police Colleagues
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A Message To My Former Police Colleagues

A Message To My Former Police Colleagues

This note is written with nothing more than pure emotion, and a bit of frustration as once more I ask for police to simply ‘check themselves’ with regards to their Facebook settings and what is seen of them online.
Many members believe what they post online won’t matter if it is seen.. there is nothing that anyone can do with the information and it doesn’t hurt anybody.
Well if you would indulge me – I will start with a list;

Hackers

Hackers can do real damage and many police are either naive about this, or simply don’t think it will happen to them. If you’re online you are susceptible to being hacked. The art of doxing your information, or your family information is the usual action of choice by hackers. A Dox can dig up years of old data to be posted to the web, or an online dark web forum when you least expect it. The hacking of devices to gain access to passwords and steal information from emails or files, via social engineering is another well known trait of hackers.

Compromising photos

Whether you’re tagged in a photo and even if the tag is removed, party pics and compromising photos can play a part in discrediting your reputation. You would hope these don’t resurface when submitting applications for new positions.
Don’t get me wrong I’m not trying to be the party police, I think sharing appropriate pics online when having fun is great and it’s what social networking is about. But do keep a tally of what and where your photos are posted.
These days embarrassing GIF’s or Meme’s can accidentally (or on purpose) make their way into the public arena very quickly and it’s near impossible to get them removed.

Keep your stupid comments to yourself

At the time of the Lindt Cafe Siege in Sydney, I tried to assist a NSW policewoman who had posted disparaging remarks about the gunman online.
While she may have said in the post what many were thinking, somehow the post made it’s way from her Facebook account, into the trending Twitter thread of the siege. The Twitter feed was being monitored by journalists and others around the world. This unfavourable tweet was a call out to NSW police, with the police woman’s Facebook post attached as a screenshot.
Her Facebook account although mostly closed from public view.. still displayed some aspects of policing, including a photo of a divisional van being towed away which she had been driving.
I know this because she captioned the error of her driving ways, under the pic. I politely messaged her with information to assist, as her department may soon be hot on her tail. It was shortly after that her Facebook was deactivated… not a perfect solution as the information she posted is still online.
This is why I mention in my internet safety workshops to have a safety strategy, which she clearly did not have.

Your name in the media

Policing involves media, it’s an unavoidable and very important component of the job. However if your Facebook profile is not locked down, as soon as your name is in lights, your online social life is too. 80% of police who tell me they are fine because their Facebook is locked down.. are wrong! I always find aspects of their online life they did not know you could view.
By the way – fake Facebook names don’t make a difference and not only are they against the terms of use of Facebook, they can be reported and you may lose your account. Common sense should tell you, the general public know who you are. You’re the local cop! You’re known at your kids school, in the community and within your family and extended family.. they know who you are and they are watching your moves online and may report any misconduct or bad behaviour.

Bullying bastards and bitches

Yep I’m going to say it. There are some bullying bastards and bitches in the policing world. Maybe they know it, maybe they don’t… but it’s out there, that they do start fires in regards to rumour mongering and causing conflict in the workplace. Please don’t engage in bullying or slanderous conversation about others at work.
While it is normal to discuss work annoyances and departmental affairs, keep it civil. Bullying or defaming conversations about work colleagues via inbox messaging or secret Facebook groups, is a dangerous and ridiculous domain to place yourself in. None of it is sacred, it could be subpoena and someone always, ALWAYS comes unstuck.
Discussions on people’s marital status, family situations or other private matters should be off limits and is no place for police professionalism. Lessons have been learned in the past with legal action taken between police due to online abuse and derogatory statements.. just dont go there!
If you need help in coping with distressing matters and don’t feel comfortable talking to others within your department – please view other resources that can offer assistance, or see your doctor. Beyond Blue; Lifeline; Suicide Prevention; R U OK; Black Dog Institute

Big Brother is watching

If you weren’t aware, viewing your Facebook or social media account on a work computer may grant access for your department to view your account. Not to mention the government now holds data for two years and there is online tracking by marketers and websites. One last point I would like to make and this is not self promoting .. it is fact.
That most of my social media investigation course enquirers or attendees, are from police members related to ethical standards.
The average cop doesn’t think to attend, yet the members who investigate cops have it high on their list.
That is my last warning about managing your online self.. Please stay safe out there and remember…
The internet is like a mirror.. only ever put online what you want to see reflected back to you.
Janita x
this post shared from the original note on my Facebook account