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Thursday 8 December 2016

NI police chief apologises over tweet

Published 23/08/2016 | 02:30

Chief Constable George Hamilton was responding to an anonymous person on Twitter shortly after midnight on Sunday as he posted a light-hearted appeal for new recruits.
Chief Constable George Hamilton was responding to an anonymous person on Twitter shortly after midnight on Sunday as he posted a light-hearted appeal for new recruits.

Northern Ireland's police chief has been forced into an embarrassing apology over a late-night tweet suggesting officers overwhelmed by the job should "dry your eyes" or "move on".

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Chief Constable George Hamilton was responding to an anonymous person on Twitter shortly after midnight on Sunday as he posted a light-hearted appeal for new recruits.

One Twitter user, apparently a police officer who says he lives with depression and pain, responded that police were expected to be social workers, paramedics and child minders as well.

"I know - more complex & challenging but we are here to serve so let's get on with it rather than wallowing in self pity!" Mr Hamilton replied on his verified Twitter account.

When the man denied he was wallowing in self-pity, Mr Hamilton again responded: "well you're allowed to leave & seek another job - nobody is asking you to stay. "Dry your eyes, do the job or move on!"

The Police Federation for Northern Ireland, which represents more than 10,000 rank and file PSNI officers, accused him of a "stunning misjudgment" and demanded an apology for what they described as "offensive comments".

Mr Hamilton has now posted a video of himself saying sorry for his remarks. "Last night's frank Twitter conversation was what the police actually do, however such important issues are not best dealt with in the 140 characters of a tweet," he said. "I've clearly caused some offence in what I've said and for that I apologise."

Irish Independent

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