Embarrassed by some risque and juvenile postings, the police force will issue new guidelines this year for officers' use of the internet.
Police Commissioner Andy Tsang Wai-hung said the guidelines were necessary because some police officers had misused social media websites.
'We emphasise that we expect our officers to uphold a high standard of conduct and discipline, regardless of whether they are in a physical environment or in a virtual environment,' he said yesterday.
In a recent case, a female officer put up on her blog racy pictures of policewomen pulling up their skirts, pointing handguns at each other and touching one another's breasts.
'You will no doubt agree with me that such behaviour is not acceptable to the police force or the community,' Tsang said.
He said whatever officers did inside or outside Hong Kong would be subject to the same standard. Officers should uphold good discipline so as not to bring the force's image into disrepute, he said.
Assistant Commissioner Peter Hunt led a review last year of the experiences of police forces overseas in the use of the web.
Benjamin Tsang Chiu-fo, chairman of the Police Inspectors' Association, welcomed the proposed guidelines but said they needed to be balanced with the freedom of officers to express themselves.
Gary Wong Ching, chairman of the Junior Police Officers' Association, said the force had recently issued a notice to remind officers not to upload photos showing themselves at work, but it would be better to have official guidelines.
The police chief also announced that the force planned to buy an optical fingerprint system to digitise the collection and storage of fingerprints, to replace its oil-based system. The new system is out for tendering and is expected to be in use in 2013.