Police are investigating 828 incidents of officers and staff acting inappropriately on social media sites Reuters

Hundreds of police officers are being investigated for breaching social media guidelines, including making racist remarks on Facebook and spouting inappropriate remarks about a colleague's wife online.

A total of 828 cases have been reported to police bosses at forces across England and Wales over the last five years, a Freedom of Information (FOI) request revealed on Tuesday.

According to Gwent Police in Wales, one PC was found to have acted inappropriately while attending a member of the public's home, asking her to become a friend on Facebook and later sending her a message on the site. The PC in question received a written warning.

Another officer posted a comment on Facebook about Muslims in central London failing to observe a two-minute silence. It was alleged that the language used "could be regarded as offensive or inappropriate", police said.

Other examples include a constable who resigned over their "excessive and inappropriate use" of the internet during working hours, in particular their use of online auction sites, internet banking and social networking sites.

People working in policing must always be mindful of the high standards that the public expect from us.
- Chief Constable Alex Marshall

In Lancashire, a member of civilian staff received a written warning over remarks they made on Facebook about a PCSO who had issued the staff member with a fine for dog fouling.

In the same force, a PC also received action from their superiors after it was alleged they made inappropriate remarks on Facebook regarding someone else's wife.

Just 9% of all cases ended in resignation, dismissal or retirement, an investigation by the Press Association has found.

Greater Manchester Police reported the most investigations for embarrassing or criminal social media comments (88), followed by West Midlands (74) and the Metropolitan Police Service in London (69).

Chief Constable Alex Marshall, chief executive of the College of Policing, said: "People working in policing must always be mindful of the high standards that the public expect from us.

"Our code of ethics, which was launched last month, sets out the standards which everyone in the service should strive to uphold whether at work or away from work, online or offline."