Kent police raise ‘Gipsy and Roma Traveller’ flag ‘to show their continued support for diverse communities’
- Officer and staff flew flag to recognise Gipsy contribution to police force
- But picture post backfired badly with over a thousand complaints online
- Some branded it a joke while one questioned when it was ‘crime-fighting day’
- Gipsy Roma Traveller Police Association hit back and said flag was an honour
A police force has raised the Gipsy Roma Travelling flag – sparking hundreds of complaints from the public
Kent Police announced it was marking Gipsy Roma Traveller History Month and put out a picture of three members of staff with the colourful banner.
But the social media post prompted over a thousand responses, with most of them negative.
Kent has had to deal with a large number of illegal traveller sites in the past.
Kent Police posted the flag on social media but received a hostile response from hundreds of users
One web user accused the force of being ‘out of touch’, while others declared they should leave ‘left wing woke politics’ behind.
The Gipsy Roma Traveller Police Association – who represent those from the travelling community – said they had hundreds of officers and the flag recognised their contribution.
The original posting from the police force was made on Wednesday just after 2.30pm and featured DCC Tony Blaker and PC Kate West Diversity and Inclusion Co-ordinator Suki Randhawa.
The original message prompted a storm of criticism with the police force being accused of ‘virtue signalling’ and being asked if it was a joke
Call the social media police!
In October a top police officer was criticised for posting a ‘ridiculous’ video on Twitter highlighting ‘International Pronouns Day’.
Julie Cooke, the deputy chief constable of Cheshire police, told her 2,231 followers that the day was important to anyone who identifies as transgender or ‘gender non-conforming’.
In July police in London showed off an extravagant £130,000 hybrid car online, which would never be used for catching criminals.
The eco-friendly BMW i8, was patrolled along the roads near the Met’s headquarters just to prove it was obeying the city’s new Ultra Low Emission Zone.
In October 17 at least 18 officers from Humberside Police rode bumber cars at Hull Fair for photo opportunities.
Chief Superintendent Darren Downs, posted a picture on Twitter and described having a “fantastic afternoon at the fair”.
It said: ‘We’re marking Gypsy Roma Traveller History month by raising the ‘GRT’ flag’, helping to show our continued support for diverse communities. Kent’s history has a rich Gypsy & Roma heritage & we’ll continue to work with all communities to ensure this is a welcoming county for all.’
Deputy Chief Constable Tony Blaker of Kent Police said: ‘Kent Police employs staff from all strands of society, including people from Gypsy, Roma and Traveller backgrounds, and this flag was flown in response to a request from serving officers in Kent.
‘British policing is by consent and Kent Police seeks to positively engage with all our communities, and in doing so we regularly show our support for other national and international events and religious festivals.’
But by Thursday afternoon over 1,300 had responded, most in disbelief.
Bea Johanssen simply asked ‘When’s Crime-fighting Day?’ while another questioned ‘Is this a joke? We do not pay the police force to support certain groups. They should police without fear nor favour.’
Twitter user Blue Geordie said: ‘Virtue signalling that means nothing to no one but will undoubtedly p*** off a lot of people who just want the police to turn up when they call them and lock up the bad guys when they find them. Simple stuff.’
Simon Lord added: ‘Dear Kent Police, as this week is Armed Forces Week, could you tell us how you intend marking this event?
‘As Kent was full of famous RAF Stations such as Biggin Hill, whose brave pilots played a huge part in saving us from the Nazi’s, will you be raising a flag for them?’
Another said: ‘Dear God, give me strength. When are the police going to stop virtue signaling and doing what they’d paid to do and Police?’
Kent has had problems with travellers in recent years, with communities sitting up illegal sites.
In 2019 the army turned up to turf out families who had rolled up on land in Folkstone, Kent is owned by the MoD.
The GRTPA responded to some of the online outrage.
It said: ‘Nationally we have hundreds of Gypsy Roma and Traveller Officers.
‘This flag is for us and the contribution we make every day to serving the public.’