The Met Police bans social media on smartphones of on-duty officers

The Met Police, which has more than 30,000 officers, has blocked mobile-phone access to TikTok and most other social-media apps

The Metropolitan Police force is banning its officers from social media apps as part of an upgrade of smartphones for police.

Scotland Yard told the Standard: “We’ve been undergoing a smartphone rollout for officers over the last few months. It is possible to download apps like maps, news, and transport apps on them, but not social media apps.”

The Met confirmed that it has already provided these newly locked-down smartphones to various police teams, but did not specify exactly how many of its 30,000 serving officers have been issued with one so far.

A spokesperson added that the social media ban does not include the messaging app WhatsApp, which many people consider to be a social network. However, this popular app can now only be used by Met officers or staff on a restricted basis and permission must be sought to use it, presumably on a case-by-case basis.

The Met Police said that its own communications teams would continue to use its corporate social media TikTok account.

The move would appear to mark a significant policy shift from the Met Police, which has faced serious criticism over its officers’ misuse of social media and WhatsApp. These issues were all clearly highlighted in the Casey review, published last week.

Wayne Couzens, who is serving a whole-life sentence at Durham Prison for the kidnap, rape, and murder of 33-year-old Sarah Everard in March 2021, was part of a WhatsApp group with other serving officers that was described by prosecutors Edward Brown QC in court as being “grossly racist, sexist, and misogynistic”.

Two Met Police officers were jailed for taking and sharing photos on WhatsApp of the murder scene of Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman in 2020, in a park in Wembley.

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