An under-fire staff member at Merseyside Police who sparked a storm of criticism after appearing to make an online joke about rape over Sunderland’s Premier League defeat at Everton has left the force.
Merseyside Police was hit with a flood of complaints for its response on its official Twitter account to a user wishing to report a ‘rape’ after the Black Cats’ heavy 6-2 loss at Goodison Park on Sunday.
A user on the social media site wrote: “A user wrote: “Hello. I’d like to report an incident of rape that occurred at Goodison Park, Liverpool, on November 1 at 3pm.”
In response, Merseyside Police wrote: “Just confirm there was no actual rape for me? Sunderland certainly got caught with their pants down, though.”
Minutes later the force responded to another Twitter user who tweeted: “I’d like to report an incident that’s been going on for ages. Chelsea get raped every week, can you help?”
Merseyside Police responded: “Afraid not, it’s not a criminal offence to lose week in, week out.”
The tweeted reply has since been deleted and the force has apologised.
Merseyside Police said the civilian member of staff responsible had left its employment.
A spokesman said the person was “due to leave the force but decided to go early” after talks.
Following the controversy, Clare Phillipson, director of the Wearside Women in Need Organisation, said she was concerned the incident showed thar rape reports were not being taken as seriously as they should.
She told the Echo yesterday: ““I think it’s worrying that there seems to be a culture where particularly younger men are now saying that they raped or “fraped” a mate, meaning they have beaten them at a computer game or got one over on them in some way.
“It’s not the best use of language but it does show that rape is about dominating someone.
“The police have then replied in a similar “bantering” manner, but what worries me more is that rape isn’t being taken seriously, police numbers are being cut and rape centres up and down the country aren’t being given the funding they need.