Police chief apologises for 'liking' tweet blaming officers for riots

Police force chief says sorry after ‘endorsing’ tweet blaming officers for Bristol riots

  • Rachel Swann, who leads Derbyshire Police, ‘liked’ a tweet blaming officers
  • Guardian journalist Owen Jones had written the tweet criticising police tactics
  • Miss Swann apologised after ‘accidentally’ liking the post following the unrest

A chief constable apologised yesterday for ‘accidentally’ endorsing a tweet that blamed rioting in Bristol on police and the Government.

Rachel Swann, who leads Derbyshire Police, ‘liked’ the message, which said the violence was inevitable after officials ‘criminalised peaceful protest’.

The author of the tweet, Guardian journalist Owen Jones, was referring to the widely criticised tactics of the Metropolitan Police at a vigil for Sarah Everard, as well as the Government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which aims to crack down on protests.

Rachel Swann apologised for ‘accidentally’ endorsing a tweet that blamed rioting in Bristol on police and the Government

He wrote: ‘If the Government attempts to criminalise peaceful protest, and police are set on women at a vigil, the scenes tonight in Bristol become an inevitability.’

He continued: ‘No justice, no peace’ isn’t best understood as a threat, but as a statement of the glaringly obvious.’

Miss Swann ‘liked’ the tweet late on Sunday night but later deleted the endorsement after being criticised online. 

When she later condemned the violent scenes in Bristol, one Twitter user wrote: ‘And yet you agree with the mob and that the violence was inevitable due to the Met’s actions?’

Demonstrators stand near a burning police vehicle during a protest against a new proposed policing bill, in Bristol

A second Twitter user, Bert Lynch, wrote: ‘Suggest you remove your like from (the) Owen Jones post. It’s not a good look at all.’

Miss Swann, who became her force’s first female chief constable in August, said that she had ‘accidentally liked a tweet which did not reflect my view of the situation’. 

She added: ‘When I realised this morning I immediately corrected it.’

In 2019, Miss Swann told how she was temporarily driven off Twitter after ‘sexist and homophobic’ abuse over her spiky hairstyle.

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