An English police force has stopped publishing pictures of knives confiscated during weapons seizures to “help reduce the fear of knives”.
Pictures shared on social media of a variety of weapons confiscated by police or handed over in amnesties have become a common sight, but Thames Valley Police will no longer be doing so over concern that “knife imagery” could be triggering the public.
Thames Valley Police said in a statement that after consultation with other forces and the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) it would “stop publicising images of seized knives to help reduce the fear of knives and knife carrying in our local communities”.
Confirmed during National Knife Crime Awareness Week, it is expected that other forces will follow suit.
In April, Surrey Police chief constable Gavin Stephens called on officers and the media “not to post pictures of huge weapons, zombie knives and the like, because it spreads fear and young people think they are in danger”, with a spokesman confirming: “We have taken a stance not to post images of knifes [sic] we seize.”
A number of police forces in the past have eagerly shared their weapons seizures online, including some items that would questionably be considered “dangerous”.
The butter knife tweet vanished earlier this month — and here's why: https://t.co/8SD5NVptMc
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 10, 2018
May 2018 saw a number of such weapons busts proudly displayed on Facebook and Twitter, with London’s Hackney Police being forced to delete their social media posts of “weapons” after being mocked for confiscating a butter knife and a bicycle wheel.
Confirming why the posts were deleted, Hackney Police told Breitbart London that after “a large number of offensive messages” had been made in reply to the tweets, they were “generating lots of retweets and comments” which resulted in the force’s social media managers struggling to sift out requests for advice from all the mocking.
“A number were reported to Twitter who agreed the messages violated their terms,” Hackney Police added.
While Hackney officers were alerting the Twitter Police of the “offensive messages”, West Yorkshire Police have threatened to arrest Facebook users who mocked their tiny cannabis seizure — about enough to fill a thimble — that they had posted online, writing on their social media page: “I would like to remind everyone that this is a police page and whatever your thoughts on one of my officers seizing drugs in the community, being insulting, abusive or offensive can and will result in a prosecution under the Malicious Communications Act 1988.”
Britons also mocked Regents Park Police for displaying, along with machetes, butcher knives, and a fencing sword that had been handed over to them, a rusty dessert spoon.
British Police Threaten to Prosecute Facebook Users Under Malicious Communications Act for Mocking Them https://t.co/WlCTpkllkc
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 12, 2018