How Twitter is taking us beyond the PSNI’s closed doors

A quick one: over on his own blog a writer who describes himself on Twitter as a PSNI officer has just published a rarely-seen (WARNING – EXTREMELY GRAPHIC) glimpse into what are presented as some of the hardest days of a currently-serving police officer.

For many years, Police Service of Northern Ireland social media policy for work social posts and security concerns for personal posts kept this kind of look at life beyond the PR hashtags and taglines to a minimum.

The recent #dryyoureyes issue is a symptom of the slow trend of apparent tales from the locker room starting to find their way online through a number of social media accounts.

As an aside, the writer’s extremely direct Twitter account – definitely not endorsement etc – often takes on the handling of police stories by the NI media in a way that no one else seems to be openly attempting. If politics hates a vacuum, then so too does social media, it seems.

Personally, it is my idealistic hope that before a person seeks to politicise the job an individual officer is doing or apply their prejudice, of whatever type, they read the blog entry above.

The piece is another instance where a writer reveals what they have found to be the real but, until now, hidden face of working within policing in Northern Ireland at present.

My own Slugger entry, written as someone who had professional exposure to the organisation (although not as a police officer), tries to do the same from a very different viewpoint.

A brilliant Police Federation campaign has shown the way their officers see it: “we are you“. Their stories deserve to be heard.

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  • Lex.Butler

    Thanks for signposting this blog. The author is better than most crime writers…

  • chrisjones2

    Is that just Northern Ireland / PSNI. I suspect cops almost anywhere might tell similar stories. We rely on them to see the things we don’t want to see and handle that we daren’t touch. Then we criticise them for the way they did it

  • chrisjones2

    Then why not apply?

  • Barabeirebaiboutye

    There seems to be a horrible disconnect sometimes with people trying to the put the police down because that’s the in thing to do these days.

    Oh what about the doctors and the ambulance staff and the firemen; it’s always the police crying out; well no not really all the other agencies can all strike, have went on strike and some are currently on strike.

    This is the first time I’ve publicly seen the PSNI officers complaining so that says a lot I think.

    Police cannot strike. They have to tough it out. Keep that in mind before you come out with your snide remarks. Great piece, overly graphic for my taste (not to criticise) but just not one while eating a sandwich.

  • Barabeirebaiboutye

    I don’t think the writer complains about his or her job in that post.

  • Zig70

    It seems that the psni doesn’t see how the the pictures of the queen and RUC memorials would make it a bit of a cold house. The psni is still RUC mkII in many ways and that has to be realized. The big issue I have though is that they all seem to want the overtime watching muppets marching and busting in houses in Lurgan but nobody seems to care about jumping lights, mobile phone usage in cars and parking in bus lanes. The ordinary crimes that affect us daily. I still feel aggrieved at being robbed in my house by a known local and a cop coming round and telling me it was probably gypsies.

  • And often do so for reasons which have nothing to do with the officer.

  • Thank you – to hear such frankness from a serving officer on a solo run (corporate communications-wise) is quite a rare thing and felt worth noting.

  • I’ve referenced the ‘dry your eyes’ debacle but that debate, in my humble opinion, is well over-cooked now. I’ll leave that one to Nolan etc.

    The piece is about the sudden appearance of ground-level, unofficial social media activity appearing – having broken free from the corporate party like – for what is probably the first time at this level of prominence in NI.

  • I’d have said it is a post-conflict given that allowing each other to honour their dead is a basic expectation.

    Each station/ unit is allowed an optional memorial poster and some have a memorial plaque/ stone. It doesn’t seem unreasonable and is perhaps even a very simple expectation if any community expects the same respect from others in return. Unless a plaque in a building somewhere is a reason for complaint someone is really reaching to try to find.

    To the best of my knowledge, there are no pictures of the Queen on the police estate due to neutral working environment rules unless there’s some photo somewhere of, say, historic interest I never came across.

    There’s an entire, very large traffic branch (assigned by various officers au diff times) and bus lane cameras for the stuff you’ve described. Figures for the penalty tickets they issue are easy to find or request.

    If an officer fell short of the mark that’s what PONI is for.

  • Anyone can have more of whatever they want on Slugger as far as I know – contributions just need to be sent to one of their editors.

  • Modern policing is frustrating in its limitations – limitations politicians have worked to apply then smother policing in process and oversight (in short, be careful what you wish for folks) – and intelligence-gathering is a standard in every police force and set against national standards.

    If you’ve felt aggrieved there’s a formal, independent complaints process to deal with it and apply the lessons. A great many complaints aren’t upheld when the above factors and others are applied.

  • And then there’s politicians who undermine police at every opportunity when it suits their agenda (bearing in mind: it isn’t political policing when it happens to other people) and encourage their voters to do the same, then complain that the force lacks backbone on the occasions when it suits their politics for action to be taken.

    I woudn’t do a cop’s job in NI for any sum of money.

  • Another way of looking at it is – in among 2,000 calls/ incidents per day (or whatever it is in 2016) – an old gun being found is pretty unexceptional and not uncommon. I’ve read the Irish News piece…it sounds like it was dealt with normally as a routine find of an old firearm.

    It feels more like perhaps naivety and miscommunication to me but – then again – like I’ve just done, a person can stretch to make any circumstances to suit the version of events they wish for (working backwards from that point) if they try hard enough.

  • Just to note that the website mentioned in the article above,, has been taken down in the last 24 hours. I also see that the author’s twitter account ( appears to have been deleted.