POLICE Scotland have been accused of “going back to the 70s” after posting a picture of female officers with the caption: “More than just pretty faces.”
The selfie of the three beaming women in uniform was put up on the Facebook page of Edinburgh Police Division yesterday (Tue).
But the post immediately sparked a massive row as social media users complained the force was using outdated language and branded the image “outrageous”, “medieval” and “condescending”.
The force then poured fuel on the flames by insisting no offence had been caused and attempting to defend the post on the basis that it was written by a woman.
Ironically, the original post was intended to promote equal opportunities.
Under the caption “These ladies are more than just pretty faces” the post stated: “From SPC [Special Police Constable] to Superintendent, there are opportunities for everyone in the police. Don’t sit and wonder what it would be like, come and join us – we are recruiting!”
Social media users immediately pointed out that the wording of the post would not attract women to join the force, claiming it reeked of sexism.
David Grant commented: “Ladies and pretty faces all in the one sentence. Woohoo, it’s 1972 again! Maybe want to rethink that headline?”
Diane Grey commented: “I am sure these fine women are doing a great job – but commenting on their facial appearance ? In this day and age? Not PC is it?”
Karen Kennedy added: “‘Pretty faces’… equality and diversity training perhaps needed for you social media team? Outrageous.”
Ian Bettison said: “Do you comment on the attractiveness of all applicants or just the pretty girls? Same old medieval attitude from Police Scotland.”
Sam Murdoch added: “How about a picture of some pretty boy constables?”
Others simply called Police Scotland outdated.
Karen Mechan commented: “Come on that’s more than just a bit condescending Police Scotland! You really should know better…even though I’m sure no offence was meant. 2017 not 1917.”
Jamie McCallum added:”Police Scotland demonstrating diversity….by hiring a 75yr old social media manager.”
Andrena Graham said simply: “Oh come on!! Did you honestly just write that?”
Early this morning, the force responded – and managed to make the situation worse.
They stated: “No offence caused folks. I was merely making reference to the fact these women (and men) work very hard and we are appreciative of all they do in their respective jobs – whether that’s as a volunteer for police scotland or one of the commanders for the division.
“This was in fact written by a 31-year-old female, who like many others initially noticed their beaming smiles and pretty faces. But as an officer myself, I know the job they do well and would encourage any of you men, women, ‘pretty’ or ‘ugly’ to step up and see if you have what it takes!”
But Elaine Miller replied: “Erm, yes, yes there was offence caused – didn’t you read the responses? The age, sex or prettiness of the person who wrote this nonsense is irrelevant.”
Anna Berry added: “Your response perpetuates the sexism in the initial post. If this was three smiling male officers would you ‘notice their pretty faces’? If I represented my employer in this way I would be disciplined.”
Karen Kennedy said: “I’m not offended… I’m embarrassed at your lack of professionalism and ignorance at how this represents your employer.”
Police Scotland this afternoon produced one of the female officers in the picture. Superintendent Lesley Clark, to reject the claims of sexism.
Supt Clark, far left in the picture, said: “As one of those pictured in this post, I find the accusation that it is sexist very disappointing and strongly refute these accusations.
“The intention of this social media interaction, which was written by a female officer, was to illustrate the incredibly important role that women play within policing in a number of ways.
“The picture features a Special Constable, a PC and myself, a serving Superintendent who has been able to work within a number of challenging and rewarding roles throughout my career. We want to show that there are always opportunities for all to make a valuable contribution to keeping people safe
“The image was intended to challenge sexist stereotypes and we welcome any discussion this post has generated in relation to the importance of gender equality.”