A police officer saw red and spent more than two hours in a Facebook dispute with a lad they branded a “keyboard warrior”.
Preston Police posted an online message on their Facebook page relating to an appeal for a missing youngster, who was later found safe and well.
On this particular occasion the officer was engaging with a number of people and with the best of intentions, but if anyone objected to any of the language or tone used then we apologise.
But the officer then became involved in dozens of comments and replies in a disagreement with another Facebook user, who had criticised their use of social media in the missing person case.
The conversation thread turned into a list of exchanges and retorts, in which the police wrote it was “way past” the poster’s bed time, followed by “LOL! BOOM! BURN” and an emoji.
The police officer was then called a “muppet” during the conversation, and responded “oooh... insults... luv getting them on here...”
The Evening Post was alerted by a reader who claimed the police had showed a “serious lack of professionalism”.
Social media trainer Jane Binnion added: “I’d advise if people put something on that you’re not happy with, deal with it but don’t go on and on. “There’s a point where you have to disengage and that may mean letting them have the last word. It sounds like it was confrontational and I’d be arguing for any organisation don’t get into that. You have to see it as customer care.”
A police spokesman said: “We have embraced both Twitter and Facebook as new ways of engaging with our communities and both are widely used by officers and staff to provide information, engage with our communities and offer community reassurance, for example around the recent fracking protests.
“There are examples every week of where missing people have been located and crimes solved through our social media channels. On this particular occasion the officer was engaging with a number of people and with the best of intentions, but if anyone objected to any of the language or tone used then we apologise.”