Police misconduct and social media: perceptions of aspiring future police officers

Colin Rogers, Ian Pepper, James Turner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The research aimed to explore the perceptions of aspiring future police officers studying at a university in relation to the actions to be taken with regards to typical posts on social media by a fictitious off and on-duty police officer. This in turn would inform future police workforce requirements.

Policing students who expressed their aspirations as future police officers were recruited. A total of 99 students studying the College of Policing licensed Professional Policing Degree at the University of South Wales, took part in Hydra Immersive Simulations to ascertain their perception of social media posts by a fictitious serving police officer. The students were asked to rate the appropriateness of the social media posts as groups, and as individuals.

The findings suggest that, whilst the majority of students identified misconduct issues in the social media posts, the response to how the fictitious police officer should be dealt with varied. In addition, it would appear that there may be a need for those involved in policing education to reinforce, in an ongoing basis, knowledge of the College of Policing Code of Ethics, misconduct rules, regulations and increase awareness of unacceptable social media posts.

The research was conducted with professional policing degree students from one university.

It is important to reinforce The College of Policing Code of Ethics, expected professional standards and an understanding of what constitutes unacceptable social media posts throughout the education of aspiring police officers. As this has the potential, if recruited, to impact on the service.

Limited research has been conducted in relation to the College of Policing licensed higher education programme, the professional policing degree (PPD), equipping aspiring police officers to successfully join the service and influence the cultural change.
Original languageEnglish
Article number0214
Number of pages16
JournalHigher Education, Skills and Work-based Learning
Issue number00
Early online date27 Feb 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Feb 2024


  • Social media
  • work-based learning
  • technology enhanced learning


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