An ex-policeman has been cautioned for harassment after posting 250 comments on a regional daily newspaper website under the false name of a serving officer.
The 54-year-old man from Benfleet, Essex, blogged on the Southend Echo’s website under the name of Detective Constable Nick Burton.
Essex police said the majority of the posts “were offensive and were critical of the force.”
The man was issued with a police caution after he admitted causing harassment
In a statement, police said the man was arrested following an internal police investigation and then a subsequent criminal investigation by Essex Police.
“The investigations were launched after over 250 blogs were registered on the Southend Echo’s website during the course of five years. These blogs were from a person calling themselves Nick Burton – a serving Essex police officer,” the force said.
“The police investigations revealed that the blogs were not posted by the officer, but rather from the Benfleet man who himself had been a former officer with Essex Police.
“Nick Burton and his family had suffered numerous other forms of harassment, but the newspaper postings were particularly distressing as colleagues believed DC Burton was the author.”
Echo editor Martin McNeill said that although a number of the posts had been “critical and outspoken” about Essex Police and Mr Burton, the newspaper had no reason to believe the comments posted in his name were not genuine.
“As soon as the Echo was made aware of Essex Police’s criminal investigation, just a few months ago, we took action to ban the user and gave Essex Police the information they requested,” he added.