Cops and Justice staff Twitter too much

The Ministry of Justice has sacked four officials and issued final warnings to three for misbehaving on sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Mandarins have carpeted around 40 more staff mucking about on the Internet or with email.

Home of the Police, Scotland Yard, has also confessed to having launched disciplinary proceedings against 28 police officers for breaching rules on social notworking sites.

The data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal officials in high places struggling to come to terms with the sudden growth of "social" media.

Eighteen Scotland Yard officers received written warnings for misusing social networking sites, five were given "words of advice" and four issued with a "formal misconduct" charge. One officer was let off. The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) confessed to disciplining five civilian staff for committing the same offence in the past 18 months – dismissing one of them.

In addition to the staff sacked or disciplined over social networking breaches, the MoJ reported 41 staff were subject to disciplinary action for breaches of IT security policy. The types of incidents misuse of email, Internet browsing, incorrect use of passwords and login detail.

The information came from a Freedom of Information request by PR bunnies at Lewis Communications on behalf of its client, email security firm Proofpoint.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said: "MoJ policy is that staff cannot access social networking sites for personal reasons. Staff can only access such sites for professional reasons if they are able to provide a strong business case that shows they need to use these media to perform their role."