European Journal of Policing Studies


“It’s complicated…” Social Media and Polish Law Enforcement Agencies’ Relationship

Keywords law enforcement practice, police, public prosecutors, criminal investigation, social media
Authors Paweł Waszkiewicz
Author's information

Paweł Waszkiewicz
Paweł Waszkiewicz, Ph.D. J.D., University Professor, Department of Criminalistics, Faculty of Law and Administration, University of Warsaw. ORCID 0000-0001-9608-1586. This work is the result of the research project "Social Media in Law Enforcement Practice" (No. 2018/31/B/HS5/01876), funded by the National Science Center under the OPUS program.
  • Abstract

      Social media has become an integral part of our social fabric; it is also utilized by law enforcement as both a crime scene under investigation and a tool for investigating offline crimes, often providing valuable evidence. However, there are gaps in our understanding of global social media use, as research has focused primarily on English-speaking countries. This article presents a survey on how Polish police officers and prosecutors use social media in their daily practices. The survey utilized the computer-assisted personal interviews (CAPI) technique to explore the reality of Polish law enforcement. Respondents, consisting of police officers and prosecutors (n = 67 + 116), answered questions about their official and private use of social media. The study aimed to test hypotheses related to age and the official and private use of social media. The results of the survey contradict some expectations. Police officers and prosecutors use social media more frequently than their civilian counterparts. They are often reactive to the actions of criminals, which fits the arms race theory. However, some law enforcement officials have proactive strategies, and their knowledge and skills are exceptional.

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