The Police Force has many problems at the moment, but now negative feedback and misogyny, prevalent in misguided and ill-judged social media comments, can be added to that list. .
Following hundreds of comments Devon and Cornwall Police received on social media after several posts were put out on the Force Facebook, many of which were derogatory, the Chief Constable, Will Kerr, has released the following comment to address this.
“Over the weekend, Devon and Cornwall Police took the opportunity to reflect the variety and volume of demand that officers face daily, by following two officers on their shift and posting onto social media. This reflected an ongoing desire from the public to hear more about the realities of our work. My thanks go to the vast majority of people who engaged constructively with us on those posts. We really appreciate that support.
“The two officers crewed together were female, which is commonplace; however, this sparked some negative feedback from social media users. While the posts received a largely positive reaction from our communities, those comments were somewhat tarnished by numerous sexualised comments made towards the two female officers, and some calling into question their physical ability to do the job because they were female.
Such views are disappointing to read in the 21st century.
My officers, whether male or female, are all equipped and able to fight crime and keep the public safe. Sexualised comments addressed to officers going about their job is unacceptable.
“In Devon & Cornwall Police, women now make up 35.3 per cent of police officers in the counties, and since April 2020 a total of 42.6 per cent of new joiners to the Force are female. Women’s advancement in policing, and improving their representation, has been vital in positively changing our culture in policing, and it is reassuring to see that representation increasing.”
“The comments bring into focus the issue of misogyny within our society, which can be seen, heard, and felt, in almost every walk of life and in every organisation. Sadly, policing is no exception, including my own organisation. Standards and behaviours in policing are currently under intense scrutiny- and rightly so. We continue to shape our Force, ensuring that behaviours are of the highest standards, but still have a way to go. However, we all have a responsibility to challenge misogyny and be a society that doesn’t look the other way.”
This Friday (17 February), the Force will be taking part in another public engagement initiative called #ControlRoomLIVE – in a bid to demonstrate the volume and variety of the demand into the control rooms.
This will see every 999 and 101 call received by the Force being shared on Twitter over a 12-hour period.