British Police are more interested in becoming social media celebrities than upholding the law, says one of the UK’s top defence lawyers.
Nick Freeman, aka Mr Loophole, has slammed a growing trend amongst police officers for being “tweet obsessed” and more concerned with the 140 characters they are posting, rather than performing the job that the public want them to do.
Mr Freeman questioned the validity of the Police Twitter Awards, which recognise the “activity of police officers on Twitter”. Categories this year include “Best Tweeting Police Horse Account” and “Best Tweeting Dog Account”.
Mr Freeman, whose clients include David Beckham, Jeremy Clarkson and comedian Jimmy Carr, said: “Just a few weeks ago it was reported that the former head of the CPS claimed criminals were going free because police were ignorant of the law that they are meant to be upholding.
“However, I can guarantee that the majority of them will be highly competent when it comes to social media, and in particular, Twitter.
“Social media certainly has its place in the police, for example when it comes to searching for missing people and appealing for witnesses to come forward.
“Police Headquarters should control the social media accounts, not individual police officers.
“Instead of being hell-bent on becoming social media celebrities, they should be spending their time more purposefully and dealing with crime. The public want police officers off the tweet and on the beat!
“The accounts dedicated to West Yorkshire Police Horses and North Yorkshire Police dogs tweeting about the number of followers they have demonstrates that they are more concerned with gaining a following than tackling crime.”
Mr Freeman’s comments come just a few days after Sussex police sergeant Peter Allan, the force’s hate crime officer, was lambasted for criticising a national supermarket’s feminine hygiene signs for being gender specific!
Examples of police Twitter accounts include @Seancooke17 with an account dedicated to police dogs, Diesel and Flynn, a general purpose dog and a specialist search dog within the Joint operations unit Thames Valley and Hampshire Police.
This account tweeted a photo with a dog at the steering wheel with the caption: “Resources are so stretched that PD Diesel has been upgraded to standard driver”.
The official Twitter page of North Yorkshire Police Dog section, North Yorkshire K9, tweeted: “Only 45 more followers required to reach 10000!! Thanks for your support! Can we reach it before August?” (@NYPDogSection)
Similarly, the official West Yorkshire Police Horses Twitter page tweeted: “18,000 followers on Twitter! Thank you everybody!!!” (@WYPHorses)
Other police forces active on the social media platform include Cheshire Police who tweeted the following:
The North Wales Rural Crime Team are pre-occupied with gaining recognition for their tweeting talent as they repeatedly ask followers to vote for them in this year’s Police Twitter Awards.
It’s not surprising that various police accounts are desperate for votes as a glittering prize is up for grabs. The overall winner of the 2017 Police Twitter Awards will be attending the 2018 SMILE conference in the United States!
About Freeman & Co.
Freeman & Co. are a specialist firm of road traffic and criminal defence solicitors based in Manchester but with nationwide coverage.
Freeman & Co. specialise in a wide variety of road traffic cases, ranging from drink driving, speeding and mobile phone offences, to name but a few.
The firm was created by Nick Freeman, who has been dubbed “Mr Loophole” by the press for his technical legal ability and robustly challenging the prosecution.
Nick is well regarded as an expert road traffic lawyer and has successfully represented many high profile clients for a variety of motoring offences as well as criminal offences.
The firm of Freeman & Co. embodies the way Nick works, with minute attention to detail and challenging the prosecution at every turn.
If you are facing a road traffic matter or criminal offence and need the services of Freeman & Co. please call on 0161 236 7007.
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Freeman & Co Solicitors
8 Oxford Court
Tel. 0161 236 7007