I will not let police be subjected to trial by social media, says Patel | #socialmedia


olice officers should not face “trial by social media”, the Home Secretary has said as she backed calls to publish more body-worn video footage of incidents.

In a speech to the annual Police Federation of England and Wales conference, Priti Patel said “transparency is vital” and supported plans to try to counter “highly selective, and misleading, video clips uploaded on to social media”.

She told the audience: “I will not let the police be subjected to trial by social media.

“That’s why I backed the federation’s call for forces to share body-worn video footage to counter highly selective, and misleading, video clips uploaded on to social media.

“I want forces to be more proactive in sharing body-worn video footage to highlight the fantastic work of their officers, to build public confidence, and to correct harmful misinformation circulating online.

“It is critical that we work as a system to ensure that we maintain public confidence in policing, which is vital for victim reporting, intelligence-led policing, and to maintain our treasured model of policing by consent.

“As part of this process, we will be looking carefully at strengthening the system of local community scrutiny and the value of body-worn video, because transparency is vital.”

The federation’s national chairman John Apter claimed officers face “trial by media” on a daily basis.

“My colleagues are being hung out to dry by the media, by some politicians and by so-called, self-proclaimed experts on policing,” he said.

Calling on the Home Secretary for her support, he went on: “We need you to speak out when you see footage of police officers being attacked on social media.

“When we see people reaching for their phone, not to dial 999 for help, but reaching for their phone to film an attack for nothing more than entertainment.

What kind of society have we become when attacking police officers is seen as nothing more than entertainment, nothing more than a sport?

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