Peeping Social Media Police


As a died-in-the-wool regressive it’s not often I have anything good to say about the filth. When they’re not harassing the black community or choking drug-dealers to death, they’re pepper-spraying peaceful protesters. To be frank, until recently I was quite content for PM Corbyn to abolish the police altogether and introduce voluntary ‘community peacekeepers’, an idea floated by socialist demigod Dan Arel, which basically involved replacing experienced law enforcement officials with untrained, unpaid social workers.

Presumably this fleet of cops-who-aren’t-cops would be led by people like Dan, brave leftists who love to talk of punching Nazis but whose arses would drop out before my grandma could say ‘aall taalk and nee troosers’ if they had to tackle and arrest one. A bold vision for a better future in other words, and one I was more than willing to embrace fully until I became aware of the continued existence of that magical phenomenon energising police forces nationwide.

Because something wonderful is stirring among Britain’s bizzies; an exciting new era which eschews archaic practices such as solving real crimes and catching genuine criminals in favour of tracking down people who say mean things on the internet and monitoring the tampon aisle in Tesco. And one of the branches at the forefront are Wiltshire Police – the recent stars of Channel 5’s hard-hitting fly-on-the-wall series 911 Have I Got An Emergency For You! – who have abandoned the messy business of actual police work to jump aboard the hate-crime gravy train.

Not having seen the show I can’t comment on the no-doubt heinous crimes featured, but judging by the effort and resources they’ve thrown into combating the scourge of people saying nasty stuff on social media I’d wager the sound of South-West crime lords shitting bricks can be heard all the way from Dorset to Trowbridge.

‘You can’t hide from us if your spewing abuse from behind a computer screen. Our boys and gals in blue will find you’, they warned on Twitter, clarifying their priorities in style. Though I sincerely hope in future these priorities include a) learning the difference between ‘your’ and ‘you’re’, and b) reining in their transphobic rhetoric before some well-adjusted non-binary reads an exclusionary tweet like the one above and hangs theyself.

Still, Wiltshire’s finest are clearly new to the whole identity politics game so we’ll let them off (for now). Their collective heart is clearly in the right place, which is more than can be said for their sense of humour judging by the brilliantly catty reply to Tory trolls who cruelly pulled them up on their poor punctuation skills:

‘We will not tolerate any abuse or discriminatory remarks made on any of our social media platforms. We are reviewing the posts and will consider any potential criminal offences which might have been committed’. Masterful. I may not be the coppers’ biggest fan but it’s impossible not to admire people who think scouring light-hearted ‘grammar police’ gags to ascertain if any laws ‘might’ have been broken is a good use of resources. I look forward to a golden future in which no lolly stick is safe from the long arm of the law.

While Wiltshire Police’s dedication to censoring adults is second to none, they also have the worst record in the UK for solving burglaries, hitting an all-time low of just one in 12 in 2014/15. That’s more like it. Because you can’t expect police officers to waste their time arresting people who break into houses when there is linguistic-based hatred being spread all over the internet.

Funnily enough, another constabulary near the top of the same list was Sussex PD, who have themselves made waves in PC circles after their Hate Crime Sergeant and Trans-Equality Advocate Peter Allan electrified social media with a series of bold Tweets detailing the two most pernicious crime-waves afflicting Britain today – kids calling each other names and supermarkets using phrases like ‘feminine hygiene’ to describe feminine hygiene products.

Take this grim despatch from the mean streets of Lewes: “#Transphobic #Hate #Burgess Hill – Non-crime hate incident – Name calling between children. Under investigation”. Shocking stuff. And as if it wasn’t worrying enough that police are being forced to take time out from solving real crimes to investigate non-crimes, it should deeply concern us all that children in Brexit Britain are now so full of hate they think nothing of mis-gendering middle-class kids and using vile phrases like ‘tranny’, ‘she-male’ and ‘Danny La Rue’s Uglier Sister’.

But Allan’s greatest moment came when he took to Twitter to warn Tesco and Sainsbury that their signs advertising tampons and other ‘feminine hygiene’ products breached gender equality rules. He courageously urged them to use another phrase as there were quite clearly also ‘products 4 men’ on the same shelf, suggesting ‘personal hygiene’ as a progressive way to signal respect to the 0% of the male population who bleed from their fannies.

Sadly, the trolls won the day. Social media users reacted angrily when the exchanges were highlighted by a Mail on Sunday article. And Sergeant Allan’s Twitter account was subsequently suspended after the hateful reaction to his insistence that men use jammy-rags too.

It’s alarming to think that when I was a kid being on the left meant being against the likes of Mary Whitehouse and Tory MPs who wanted to ban everything – from blue comedians to video nasties. Thankfully those days are gone, and the left have been reclaiming censoriousness for some time now. What used to be the preserve of crusty old reactionaries has become part and parcel of being a funky young progressive, and it’s refreshing to know the police are joining the ban-party too.