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I was a police officer for 11 years - now I get Twitter abuse from cop accounts

It seems that cops are never more defensive than they are on Twitter (Picture: JOHNGOMEZPIX / Getty Images)

Since leaving the Metropolitan Police Service in 2015, I’ve been speaking out about the misogynistic ‘canteen culture’ that exists within policing.

I’ve shared my experiences of everything from relatively ‘minor’ micro-aggressions – referring to women as the ‘team bike’, ranking women in order of attractiveness, and comments about oral sex from the male members of the team while eating a banana – to my drink being spiked with vodka.

I’ve spoken out in newspapers, on BBC News and various radio programmes – frankly to anyone who will listen. As a result, I’ve received some shocking sexist abuse from anonymous social media accounts, calling me a ‘f**kwit,’ told that I’m part of a ‘coven’. And the worst thing? I suspect these accounts are run by serving or ex police officers.

Officers who are meant to be there to protect and help us at our most vulnerable times. Officers we are meant to turn to when we need them.

I realised after the horrific murder of Sarah Everard that there was a problem with ‘police Twitter’ – the large network of police accounts, mostly anonymous, who tweet on current policing stories.

They support each other with retweets and by piling on to the comments of anyone who dares criticise policing. Something has to be done about it.

I began to challenge the people who ran these accounts, asking if they thought that their posts were professional – posts that used offensive language (e.g. accusing people of using the race card, or sexist language like ‘silly cow’), or made inappropriate jokes – which only increased abuse directed towards me.

Their immediately defensive responses disappointed me, and the abuse made me feel threatened, especially as it appeared to be coming from groups of powerful men.

Why do I suspect these anonymous accounts are or were police officers? They tend to have a wide knowledge of policing phrases and tactics, they have posted images of the inside vehicles or in uniform, and many are part of groups who regularly comment on policing discussions.

They usually have ranks in their name (PC/DC/detective/constable) and often have an avatar that is a police-related photo.

I’ve seen that the largest of them have tens of thousands of followers, with a concerning habit of sharing the social media posts of prominent feminists (often women of colour) and deriding their views or making comments about them. This frequently results in hate being directed towards these women.


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