Police terror planner sparks massive internal probe after leaking picture of sensitive security operations on Twitter
Greg Snelgrove tweeted the code-names of exercises, locations and descriptions that were not in the public domain
Hampshire Police said they were reviewing its guidelines on Twitter but said no secret information had been disclosed
By Emily Allen
PUBLISHED: 11:54, 11 July 2012 | UPDATED: 17:36, 11 July 2012
A police force has launched a review of its staff’s use of Twitter after a top official was accused of leaking sensitive details on security operations.
Greg Snelgrove, whose police job at Hampshire Police is to plan for emergency situations such as a terror attack, gives a running commentary of his work on the social networking site.
But there is concern the official – who is also a part-time Prince William lookalike – has been publicising secret information that could be helpful to would-be terrorists.
On May 1 Mr Snelgrove, 25, tweeted about ‘attending Exercise Emerald Prism today at the South East Counter terrorism Unit (SECTU)’.
The following day he tweeted that he ‘is off to RAF Lyneham to observe Exercise Emerald Prism and how we would respond to an extended hostage/siege scenario.’
This exercise, its codenames, locations and descriptions were not in the public domain before Mr Snelgrove’s tweets, according to industry expert Alan Turnbull.
Another tweet discovered by Mr Turnbull posted by the head of contingency planning at Hampshire police related to ‘Exercise Crossley Star.’
Mr Snelgrove tweeted that is was to take place at the Health Protection Agency’s Porton Down laboratories in Wiltshire.
He said: ‘At HPA Porton Down for the Exercise Crossley Star structured debrief. We will be discussing the lessons identified and how we can improve.’
On the same campus is the former chemical weapons establishment and now research centre for bio-terrorism countermeasures.
A spokesman for Hampshire police insisted Mr Snelgrove hadn’t given away secret information but confirmed the force was now reviewing its guidelines on Twitter.
Mr Turnbull, a media research consultant, said: ‘I am not suggesting that the codewords are classified in the strictest sense. But they do allow people to join the dots and piece together the jigsaw with other exercises that might be classified.
‘This could lead to delicate information falling into the wrong hands. With regard to the tweet about Exercise Emerald Prism there was no other mention of it across the whole internet.
‘I really can’t see that the relevant authorities would have wanted these terms bandied about in the public domain and you can’t get more public than a Twitter feed. I think Mr Snelgrove is a bit young and naive and has got caught up in the vanity thing on Twitter.
‘Transparency in public office is one thing, but this is quite another.’
Mr Snelgrove, who has a Master’s degree in crisis and disaster management, tweeted in response to Mr Turnbull’s online blog on the matter, that it was ‘sensationalist and unfounded.’
A spokesman for Hampshire police said: ‘We have reviewed the tweets by Greg Snelgrove. We consider that no secret information has been disclosed but as a pragmatic precaution, we are reviewing our existing guidelines on Tweeting of information regarding exercises.’