Last Updated on November 26, 2019
A snowflake police chief from Whaley Bridge in Derbyshire has quit Twitter after receiving “abuse” from users over her unusual hairstyle.
Snowflake deputy police constable Rachel Swann made various media appearances in August as she led the evacuation of the Derbyshire town of Whaley Bridge, which had come under threat of being drowned by a potential collapse of the nearby Todbrook Dam.
She was mocked on social media for her wild hairstyle – some users criticised her for not wearing a hat, with one asking “Is that what a senior police officer looks likely [sic] these days??”
Swann quit Twitter on Monday, after a news agency contacted her saying they wanted to run a story on her hair. She told BBC Radio Derby that she “could not believe that my mere existence could cause such a depth of feeling”:
Yes, I am a woman. Yes, I might have a slightly different hairstyle. Yes, I am quite small… I can take a bit of banter but then it became sexist and homophobic, and really, really insulting. The bit that really hurt was when people said I had no standards and I was letting policing down. They were saying, “she’s not wearing a hat.” Often we would get advised not to wear hats – you can see our eyes, so you can gain trust. My personal experience of the trolling and negative comments on social media are reflective of those that some people receive every day. 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.
Some people on social media were not impressed by the snowflake nature of Swann, with some saying that this showed everything that was wrong with the police these days.
Has laughing at her daft haircut been recorded as a hate incident?
Police officers used to look smart and well turned out, it gave them authority. They look like they work in poundland now half the time and some of them look like the last thing they chased was an ice cream van.
— sean greene (@seangreeneLUFC) November 26, 2019
Amazes me people like the police chief will 1) have a clearly out there and pretty stupid haircut but 2) can't handle any jip. I had spikes in my punk days. Chavs would literally shout stuff in the street. If you don't have thick skin don't draw attention to yourself.
— Luke Parker (@Parker2674) November 24, 2019
Why have a statement hairstyle if you don't want people to notice or talk about it?
I had ridiculous hair in the early 80s, shaved on the sides, spiked on top and bleached, I did it because I was a teenager and I wanted the attention. Good or bad.https://t.co/LM09yuUdPu
— Trippy Pip (@TrippyPip) November 25, 2019
Councillors and other police officers jumped to her defence. Marc Jones, the police and crime commissioner for Lincolnshire, said Swann was “outstanding.”
“A group of largely retired, male ex cops have an issue with her ‘modern’ hairstyle. She’s a respected, able officer, exactly the sort of person we should encourage to rise to the top of policing,” he said. Peter Goodman, the Derbyshire Chief Constable, said that he was “proud” to have snowflake Swann serve as his deputy in the Derbyshire police force, and that the social media comments directed at her were “unnecessary and hurtful.”