Police in Leeds have issued a remarkable public riposte to critics who claim that all they do is “spend time eating doughnuts”.
Officers from the Leeds inner east neighbourhood policing team (NPT) took to Facebook to defend themselves after posts suggesting they should “go and catch some real criminals”.
The NPT, which covers Harehills, Gipton, Richmond Hill, Burmantofts, Seacroft and Killingbeck, wrote: “[The critics] are under the impression that all we did was spend time eating doughnuts, stopping long enough to pick on some poor little cannabis dealer.
“So we thought you might be interested to know what your officers actually spent their time on.”
The post went on to list all the matters police in Leeds dealt with during a 24-hour period, including more than 750 incidents, of which 244 were crimes. Nearly 70 people were arrested and another 27 were stopped and searched.
The post concluded: “And yes maybe the odd doughnut did get consumed in between all the crime, fights, road accidents and paperwork. We even locked up the odd drug dealer too!”
It is believed the post was written partly in response to criticism of a previous update on the NPT’s Facebook page. Two days earlier, the team publicised the results of a raid on a suspected drug dealer’s flat in Gipton, leading to some disparaging comments.
One user wrote: “How about they catch the pedos [sic] or rapists for a change.”
Another said: “Catch some real bad men.”
The ‘doughnut’ post has been ‘liked’ more than 14,000 times since it appeared on Saturday and sparked an online debate, generating more than 1,000 comments.
One poster, Chris Betts, wrote: “Toughest job in the world, no matter what you do some one will be critical.”
Sandra Roberts-Bulmer said: “Thank you, we appreciate you keeping us safe!”
But others were more critical.
Leon Luty said: “We pay you to do the job you do if your not happy maybe you should get a job that is self rewarding and not one paid out of the tax purse.”
Tom Sharon added: “But why are tax payers paying for WYP to employ someone in social media to tell me how hard you’re working?”
Leeds chief inspector Fran Naughton backed the NPT.
She said: “I welcome the open and honest approach that the inner east NPT have taken. Clearly it has been received well by the majority of people and has received a lot of support.
“Social media is an extremely valuable tool in helping us communicate with and build a relationship with the public and one we will keep using. Officers across the force are provided with guidance on best practice use of Twitter and Facebook and appropriate use of language.”