Derbyshire has ralled round the ‘hero’ police officer who led the operation to evacuate Whaley Bridge after she had to contend with a ‘torrent’ of criticism on social media- because of her hair.
Derbyshire Constabulary’s Rachel Swann’s ‘spikey’ hairstyle came under fire after the deputy chief constable appeared at press talks on the emergency at the dam.
The comments were triggered by a tweet from former police officer Ian John (@inacentre) which read: “Reading news about evacuation Whaley Bridge because danger damaged dam bursting & saw picture Derbyshire Police Deputy Chief Constable & thought how police image has changed over years. For better or for worse?”
More scathing tweets followed, including this one from journalist Neil Wilby (@Neil_Wilby): “We don’t often agree, M’Lud. “But you are right on the money here. My late, great friend, Bill Kenworthy, who retired as a legendary @DerbysPolice Chief Superintendent, will be spinning in his grave. Strict disciplinarian and stickler for appearance, he’d have sent Ms Swann home.”
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Another tweet read: “What next, T shirt and flip flops? I’m an HM Forces Veteran and I’d sure as heck had no respect if my boss had looked like that.”
But Lincolnshire police and crime commissioner Marc Jones (@MarcJonesLincs) rushed to defend Dep Chf Con Swann, who chaired the strategic co-ordinating group of partner agencies responding to Whaley Bridge crisis including the RAF, firefighters and Environment Agency.
He said: “Reading some very sad comments about a senior Police Officer’s choice of hair style from people who should know better and get a grip.
“Personally I’m proud we have such outstanding Officers here in East Mids and I’m just jealous of her hair full stop!”
Leader of Derbyshire County Council, Barry Lewis, (@CllrBarryLewis) also interveved, tweeting: “I’ve been privileged to work with DCC Rachel Swann over the last week & I tell you this- she is a remarkable woman of presence & a decisive leader. Be under no doubt, she saved a valley & ran one of the finest emergency operations in UK Peacetime history. That’s what’s important.”
Politician Edwina Curry added: “Rachel Swann is quite simply a hero. Superb police officer. That’s all.”