Spot checking of officers phones is “absolutely ridiculous”

THE idea of spot checking police officers phone is “absolutely ridiculous” and another example of “police bashing”, Hampshire Police Federation has said.

Sir Tom Winsor, Chief Inspector of Constabulary, advocated random phone searches for police officers to check for inappropriate jokes and racist, sexist and homophobic slurs. His proposal, made during a newspaper interview last month, caused outrage among the ranks.

Garry Smith, Hampshire Police Federation Secretary, said: “It just felt like this was something that was said just to provoke a reaction because there was no substance to it or policy or suggestion as to how it would work.

“A few people came up to me and asked  why them and not any other profession? Why the police? Why are the police being picked on again? Unfortunately, misogyny is not just in policing, it’s in all walks of life, so why pick on us?”

The proposal was “pie in the sky”, he said.

Garry added: “The assertion is absolutely ridiculous. If this happens to the police, it has to happen to politicians. Anyone in a position of authority or trust. It’s got to apply to everyone, but they’d need to create a new law because at the moment it would be unlawful.

“Statements like this just adds to mistrust and the impression that all police officers are bad. It is not very helpful, given how much of a bashing police officers have had. This was just fuel to the fire.”

Sir Tom had said: “It seems to me that there is no strong case for saying there should not be random checks of their social media. If they put stuff up on Facebook, a public site, it’s public. WhatsApp communications are encrypted end to end, but they are still stored on the receiving device and indeed the sending device. So they can be interrogated.”

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