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2nd Jul, 2022

Warwickshire officer warns hate comments on police social media could result in arrest

HATE comments on police social media posts could result in arrest a Warwickshire Police officer has warned.

PC Craig Purcell, who regularly posts on the Shipston Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) Facebook page, said critics typing racist, homophobic or discriminatory’ comments on police social media posts could amount to a crime and result in seizure of electronic devices and even in prosecution.

His stinging post read: “The worst part about using social media to try and engage with our communities are the people who can’t help but type racist, homophobic or similar discriminatory comments.

“Not only do they serve no purpose whatsoever, they could also potentially result in a crime being recorded, formal interview and even seizure of electronics and arrest.

“Regardless of the similarly purposeless comments I often see about police trawling the Internet to find hate crimes rather than dealing with ‘real’ work, this simply does not happen.

“However, if you’re stupid enough to comment on a police social media account using language that could amount to a crime then clearly there’s potential for that to be a problem for you.

“People can argue about their opinion on the use of certain words all day long but just be aware you could end up having that argument in court.

PC Purcell added he did not want to waste his time having to delete comments and having to track people when comments were reported as a crime – just because certain people could not make sensible decisions.

He added: “I would rather be dealing with other investigations.

“If you’re one of the people who can’t help but post these types of comment on a police run Facebook page then expect a knock on the door and expect to be writing a follow up comment about how the police wasted their time with you instead of doing ‘real’ police work.”

Some of the comments on the SNT page criticised videos and posts relating to rural crime patrols and speed checks. PC Purcell defended them saying SNTs typically targeted low-level crime, and in another reply, confirmed he only posted on police social media in his own time.

But there were also many comments praising the team’s work and for insights into how police were tackling crime in the community.

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