The National Police Service has released guidelines to the Kenyan police on how to use social media.If you are fond of using Facebook or Twitter and you are employed by National Police Service, here are the new rules for you:
Alternative methods to disseminate information.
- The Service shall to pursue alternative methods of disseminating information directly to the public including community newsletters, government access cable television shows, web sites, public appearances by agency members and public area bulletin boards.
Personal use of social media Order.
- This order sets standards that shall be followed when National Police Service employees use social media in a private capacity, especially if they identify themselves as National Police Service employees either directly or as part of a user profile, or if they can be identified as working for the National Police Service via the content of their posting.
Public comment and police employment.
- (1)Employees shall not, in their capacity as national police employees purport to make any official comment in social media about any incident, police policy or procedure without prior authorization and in accordance with the media policy.
(2) Spokesperson appointed from the office of the Inspector General or respective Service headquarters are responsible for representing the Service externally on matters concerning communities, crimes, or policing.
Public comment as a private citizen.
- (1) Police officers as public citizens shall have the right to enter into public debates and comment on social, economic or any other issue, however, any comment shall be made strictly as a private citizen and be separate from, and avoid any reference to matters of or employment with the National Police Service.
(2) Members of the Service shall not refer to their position or profession when expressing an opinion or participating in public debate in a private capacity and any comments shall not be seen to represent the National Police Service, Administration Police service, Kenya Police Service, Directorate of Criminal Investigations in part, or to compromise the officers ability to serve the government of the day in a politically neutral manner.
(3) A police officer identifiable as such who posts offensive, racists, tribal, or obscene material on their personal social media site, shall be in breach of this order and shall be subject to a disciplinary procedure.
(4) Members of the Service shall not identify themselves either directly or indirectly on social media site as employees of National Police Service Commission.
- (1) Every Police officer shall behave honestly and in a way that upholds the values and the good reputation of the police Service whether on duty or off duty.
(2) In posting to social media sites in a private capacity police officers shall—
(a) be clear it is a personal opinion;
(b) avoid posting material that may bring the Service into disrepute, or otherwise embarrass the government;
(c) avoid posting documents classified as confidential, however, inks or references of documents on official websites or social sites are acceptable and the act is not an offense;
(d) avoid comments on, suggestions or hints at matters that are likely to be currently under investigations;
(e) under no circumstance make offensive comments about National Police Service, Administration Police Service, Kenya Police Service and Directorate of Criminal Investigations as an entity or to individual Service colleagues;
(f) not put to the public any unauthorized or confidential materials including training videos, police notes, and suspect’s interview videos which discloses police methodology to the public; and
(g) remove any material posted on social media if uncertain whether such posting would amount to a breach of the law and seek advice from a senior officer.
Authorized disclosure and social media groups.
- (1) To avoid any risk of inadvertently posting inappropriate, confidential or sensitive information employees are encouraged to instead forward the images or information to the media relations officer at the respective Service headquarters for assessment and posting on official social media sites.
(2) Social media groups shall be operated by well known account administrators or by group members and such groups registered to the respective media relations office at the respective Service headquarters.
Improper associations and media.
- (1)Police officers shall take all reasonable steps to identify and avoid associations with people, groups or organizations that are involved in any activity that is incompatible with the National Police Service role to uphold law.
(2) A police officer contacted by the media about posts on their social media sites that relate to whole Service or part, shall talk to their superiors and the police media relations office before responding.
- The National Police Service, Kenya Police Service, Administration Police Service logos are an important visual for Service and crucial to its brand awareness and identity and the logo shall be used only in official communication and purposes within the guidelines spelt out in the communications and brand manual.