Derbyshire Police chief rushes to defend ‘hero’ Whaley Bridge officer after ‘hurtful’ hair comments

A Derbyshire Police chief has rushed to defend his ‘hero’ colleague after she received ‘hurtful’ comments about her hair during the Whaley Bridge crisis.

Friday, 9th August 2019, 2:11 pm
Updated Friday, 9th August 2019, 3:11 pm
(Left) Derbyshire Police chief constable Peter Goodman has defended deputy chief constable Rachel Swann (Right) after 'hurtful and unnecessary' comments were made about her hairstyle on social media.

Deputy chief constable Rachel Swann, who led the operation to evacuate the town, came under fire for her ‘spikey’ hairstyle during a press conference on the dam emergency.

The officer received scathing criticism on Twitter with some users arguing that her hairstyle was ‘unprofessional’ and that she ‘should be sent home’.

But Chief Constable Peter Goodman branded the remarks ‘unnecessary and hurtful’.

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“I am proud to have Rachel Swann as my deputy chief constable in Derbyshire,” he said.

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“The personal comments that have been made about her on social media have been unnecessary and hurtful. We are an inclusive organisation that welcomes diversity and difference. The deeply personal comments that have been directed towards her are completely unacceptable.

“Rachel has coordinated an excellent response to a complex critical incident and this should be the focus; keeping our communities safe during a dynamic and very dangerous situation.”

Mr Goodman added that he made the decision to remove the appearance standards policy when he became chief constable.

“This does not mean that I have no expectations of officers and staff,” he added.

“We need to remember that it is 2019 and times change along with policies.

“It remains that I expect officers to look professional and presentable, however as long as hairstyles do not pose a health and safety risk to officers I do not have a strong opinion on what styles are worn.”