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CPS employee ‘friended’ defendant on Facebook

A Crown Prosecution Service employee became Facebook friends with a defendant in a trial, it was revealed today.

The civil servant was one of nine employees who faced disciplinary action by the CPS in the past five years for misusing social media — and all nine cases involved Facebook.

In other incidents three staff made derogatory comments about colleagues who did not take part in strike action.

Two employees discussed a case, one made derogatory comments that could have been a reference to their manager and another made comments about drug taking. One was detained by police and then made comments about it on the social networking website.

The details were revealed in a request to the organisation using Freedom of Information rules.

The organisation said no employees were sacked over the incidents but two staff members were given final warnings, another five first written warnings and two received “no warnings” following disciplinary hearings.

Steven George–Hilley, the director of technology at the thinktank Parliament Street, which obtained the figures, said the actions of the employees put the integrity of the CPS at risk.

He said : “It’s vital that public sector organisations train staff to use sites like Twitter and Facebook responsibly, to deliver more effective digital services to the public.”

Earlier this year it was revealed that three police officers and four civilian staff in the Met were sacked in the past five years for misusing social media.