Police officers should not be subjected to ‘trial by social media’ as there are two sides to every story, the chairman of Cumbria Police Federation said.
An internal investigation has been launched by the county constabulary after an maskless officer was filmed shouting at a driver near Penrith.
The driver was branded a “silly old man” and told to “shut up” alongside the A6 near Penrith on Tuesday afternoon as police conducted a training exercise.
Martyn Lee, of Penrith, captured part of the exchange in a seven-minute video clip.
“You are going to end up getting wiped out if you’re not careful,” the officer told the driver.
“Do not argue with me.”
An official complaint has been made to the police.
Paul Williams, federation chairman, said: “Police officers have an incredibly difficult job and it is imperative that they are not subjected to trial by social media when they are out there trying to keep the public safe.
“A short clip of an incident does not always tell the full policing story. There is more to this than the video clip circulating online.
“Context is key. The scenein Penrith itself was presenting a lot of danger and steps had to be taken to make the area safe.
“This is an ongoing investigation due to a public complaint.
“We would welcome that investigation to get the full facts from both sides and I would hope that people would refrain from making negative comments about the officer I am supporting until the investigation is completed and the whole story is known.
“The chair of the National Police Chief’s Council – Chief Constable Martin Hewitt – has described the public recording officers at work and posting out of context clips on social media as a ‘hideous phenomenon’.
“I would agree.
“That context is key – people need to remember there are two sides to every story and that is what a transparent investigation will uncover.”