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UK police official quit Twitter after hairstyle mockery gave way to 'sexist and homophobic' abuse — which was logged as 'hate incident'

'I could not believe that my mere existence could cause such a depth of feeling'

Image source: YouTube screenshot

A United Kingdom police official quit Twitter after mockery over her hairstyle gave way to "sexist and homophobic" abuse on the social media platform that Rachel Swann said was logged as a "hate incident," BBC News reported.

What are the details?

Swann — Derbyshire's deputy chief constable — spoke to reporters on video concerning the evacuation of Whaley Bridge in August after a dam wall was damaged, the outlet said, adding that some viewers mocked her hairstyle on Twitter.

Then she said it got worse.

"I can take a bit of banter, but then it became sexist and homophobic, and really, really insulting," Swann told BBC Radio Derby, the outlet said. "The bit that really hurt was when people said I had no standards, and I was letting policing down."

She continued to the station: "Yes, I am a woman. Yes, I might have a slightly different hairstyle. Yes, I am quite small. ... I could not believe that my mere existence could cause such a depth of feeling."

One comment read, "Is that what a senior police officer looks likely [sic] these days??" BBC News noted.

The last straw

Then a press agency "wanted to run a story on my hair," which prompted Swann to leave Twitter, the outlet said.

"My personal experience of the trolling and negative comments on social media are reflective of those that some people receive every day," she added to BBC News. "Some of the comments were misogynistic and homophobic, and the abuse I received has been recorded as a hate incident, in the same way it would be for the public or my officers and staff. In recent years, we have seen children feeling bullied by their peers through personal attacks on social media; with youngsters in some cases so desperate it has resulted in suicide due to the pressures of the abuse."

The outlet added that Swann has since returned to Twitter and hopes "some good comes out" of the situation.

"In a funny sort of way I made my stand without meaning to," she told BBC News. "If some good comes out of that that's fine; it doesn't mean that it didn't hurt, it doesn't mean that it didn't upset me."

Police are making 'good progress' with Whaley Bridge water level youtu.be

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