POLICE officers could face disciplinary action after being caught using work computers to protest about the Government's road pricing plans.

Officers and civilian workers who added their names to a petition on the Downing Street website from their work terminals will be investigated after an internal email encouraged them to add their voices to the campaign.

Staff who answered the call contravened the force's internet policy which forbids usage of the system for political activity'.

There has been a huge surge in support nationally for the internet petition, which was launched by Peter Roberts, of the Association of British Drivers.

The proposal would see cars being tracked by satellite and motorists charged up to £1.50 a mile for driving on busy roads.

A source said: "A policeman friend of mine said he and his colleagues had been sent an email inviting them to visit the website and register their name on the road pricing petition. All those that did are now up on a disciplinary charge for inappropriate use of the Dorset Police email system."

A Dorset Police spokesman said: "It came to notice that an email had been circulated around the force which encouraged officers and staff to become involved in voting on political proposals through a government website.

"Police officers and staff were reminded of the force's internet access and email policy. It advises staff that internet and email services are primarily provided for official purposes only - occasional and reasonable personal use of these services is permitted, provided that such use does not interfere with official business or the performance of official duties and responsibilities.

"Officers from the Professional Standards Department are currently looking into whether any disciplinary action is necessary."