Police admit smiling emoji on bike crash photo was nothing to laugh about

The photograph with the laughing emoji.
The photograph with the laughing emoji.
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Police officers will be educated further on the use of social media after a photo of a crash was used with a laughing emoji.

Cleveland and Durham Police Specialist Operations Unit posted the photograph of motorbike and helmet on the floor with the #karma after a suspect crashed his motorbike during a police chase in Horden.

There was a mixed response to the post with some supporting the officers, but others thought it was 'inappropriate' and the post was later removed.

Cleveland & Durham RPU, orginally posted the photo on its Facebook page, with the words: "Motorbike pursued round Horden. He fell off trying to mount kerb (not injured). Arrested susp drug/drive,no insurance etc. #karma."

Commenting on the post, one user said: "Inappropriate use of a laughing emoji and hashtag, it was particularly unprofessional and reflects on yourself in a poor way, which is undeserved as you provide a valued service."

However, another said: "It is a bit unprofessional for a police social media page... but lets be honest it's only what we were all thinking. I love it when annoying, uninsured, joy riding little muppets come off their bikes."

Now, Inspector Ed Turner, from the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit , said all the unit’s officers will receive further guidance on how to use social media responsibly.

He said: "We encourage members of the Road Policing Unit to use social media as a way of communicating directly with the public, and with nearly 13,000 followers of the Durham RPU account it’s clear people like and are interested in their posts. However, although social media is meant to be relatively informal we still expect officers and staff to be professional in how they use it.

"Best practice on the use of social media is constantly changing and we will shortly be issuing some fresh guidance to all the RPU crews. We hope this will allow them to get the best out of Twitter and make the right judgment calls relating to issues such as emojis and hashtags.”