Derbyshire Police have removed a sexual assault appeal from their Facebook and Twitter pages after they got mercilessly trolled for hunting a man over a kiss on the cheek.
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They posted the appeal on their social media accounts asking for help from the public to find a man who kissed a woman on the cheek to thank her for helping him when his lorry became stuck under a bridge in Matlock.
Here’s what went up on their Twitter on the weekend:
And their responses to members of the public who asked for more information:
Derbyshire Police later removed the appeals, explaining:
The post drew a significant number of comments that were counterproductive to the nature of the appeal.
They also explained that the unwanted kiss, given to a woman in her 70s, fell under the Sexual Offences Act 2003:
[The victim was] distressed, especially at a time when close contact with strangers is to be avoided” and added: “We take all allegations of this nature extremely seriously.
Here’s the sort of reaction they got on Twitter:
He shouldn’t have done it but calling it a crime is ridiculous & wasting police time. It also takes the pi*s out of & demeans the real sexual assaults people like myself have suffered on many occasions. There’s enough REAL sexual assaults for police to deal with 😠
— A . H (@amelievondollar) May 16, 2020
This HAS to be a joke
— MrDk (@MrDk2dot0) May 16, 2020
I’ve surprised the police can take time away from their diversity training and fannying about nagging sunbathers to deal with this crime.
— orangeribena 🇬🇧🏳️🌈 (@orangeribena) May 16, 2020
— 🌊 J (@J_H_5) May 16, 2020
I was convinced this was a fake police account. Surely? Tell me @DerbysPolice haven’t messed up yet again?
— Freddie Scovell Esq. (@FreddieScovell) May 17, 2020
I don’t want to live in this planet anymore. Who’s got a rocket? pic.twitter.com/63udT9PaBg
— Miss Undoomed (@MissUndoomed) May 16, 2020
Unless he kissed her on her arse cheek with his ejaculating penis, Derbyshire Police are having yet another PR Kamikaze moment.
— Antman (@antman1983) May 16, 2020
The force is still encouraging people to come forward about the incident, despite removing the appeals from their social media pages. Reading Derbyshire Police’s initial Tweet, I thought for sure it was COVID-related as did a lot of people responding, but nope – the criminal offence was the kiss on the cheek itself.
Obviously, it does seem a tad bit extreme to pursue someone for ‘sexual assault’ over a kiss on the cheek, but you do also have to consider this woman in her 70s was ‘distressed’… which also seems like an extreme reaction to being kissed on the cheek, but hey, none of us were there so we don’t know exactly how it played out. On paper though, it does seem like a waste of police resources and it was unthinkably naive of them to share the appeal online and think Twitter wouldn’t eviscerate them for it.
Derbyshire Police have previous form with making idiots of themselves – last month they released this video of a policewoman rapping about social distancing. Cringe central.