The Home Secretary has told the Police Federation of England and Wales she will press Twitter to remove content that is harmful to police officers and policing.
Speaking in an exclusive online interview with Federation chair John Apter, Priti Patel said that would also be a message to the individuals who choose to post inappropriate video clips of policing and, in particular, the abuse of police officers.
“We need to take on this issue with these clips which have so much damaging, selective effect both on public confidence in policing and on police officers themselves. We need to stop being apologetic based on selective clips and information as that undermines transparency. There is a robust system for dealing with complaints, with allegations of misconduct and we have guidance, we have regulations,” she explained.
“If individuals feel so strongly about certain actions, then go ahead, use those robust systems rather than show off on social media. I think Twitter should look at themselves with regard to the level of abusive and vile content they allow to go up and we will absolutely press them on taking down some of the most appalling and abusing content and also let that be a message to the individuals putting this up there too.”
In a wide-ranging interview as part of a new ‘The chair asks’ feature in Police magazine, Ms Patel also discussed the Police Covenant, stop and search and policing during the pandemic.
She described stop and search as ‘an essential policing tool’ which officers should not feel intimidated to use and said that the families of young people murdered in knife crimes regularly asked why stop and search was not used more to take weapons off the streets.
During the interview, Ms Patel acknowledging that police officers had become ‘a bit of a backstop’ during the pandemic.
“Policing has become a bit of a backstop to other aspects of society. Police officers are amazing – they have a tool kit every day which is social worker, mental health adviser and officer upholding and enforcing the law. Their skill set is so diverse. Through Covid we have seen the pressures of that tool kit but the ways of working have changed and there are some great things we can continue and build on post-Covid,” she said.