The Evening Standard, a London-based evening newspaper, reports that Ford has given its UK employees two weeks to delete porn and other offensive material from their office computers or face the sack.

During what the newspaper terms the ‘two-week amnesty’ employees can ask computer systems managers for help in removing any offensive material that they may have stored.

The report – citing an internal e-mail to all UK employees – says that when the amnesty is over, employees found to be in possession of offensive material will be dismissed. Spot checks are planned.

The e-mail to employees reportedly warns against “transmitting or possessing ‘jokes’ of an offensive nature, for example, content of which is sexually explicit, racially offensive or otherwise demeans people on the basis of their religion, disability, sexual orientation”.

At Ford’s Dagenham plant (where car production is finishing, but engine production continues) nearly half the employees are of non-white ethnic origin, and it was the scene four years ago of serious racist allegations involving Ku Klux Klan graffiti and racial abuse.

The Evening Standard quotes a ‘senior source’ at Dagenham as saying that: “Something has sparked this crackdown. We have never seen anything like it. There are a lot of people deleting e-mail and other materials today.”