A recent flier circulated by the Kent Police near their station in Great Britain caused outrage among women’s rights activists for including “rape” as a non-emergency incident. The controversial content sparked a heated debate about the seriousness of sexual assault and the importance of proper reporting procedures.
On Wednesday, the BBC published an article revealing a notice that was found near Maidstone Police station in the United Kingdom. The flyer informed local residents about the types of “non-emergency inquires” that could be made to Kent Police through their website. Shockingly, the flyer listed “rape and sexual assault” as one of the categories.
The channel utilized for receiving “compliments and complaints” from patrons was also the non-emergency channel.
The document’s picture circulated widely across the internet, provoking fury among women and activists who found it hard to accept that the crime had been reclassified to a less critical classification.
A social media post showcased an image of a sign that stated, “The following non-emergency enquiries can be reported online via the Kent Police website.”
In the flier, crimes were listed under a prominent notice, which included a diverse range of categories such as “anti-social behaviour,” “compliments and complaints,” “contacting Kent Police (general enquiries),” “crime (wide range of options),” “domestic abuse,” “fraud,” “hate crime,” “missing persons,” “rape and sexual assault,” and “road traffic incidents.”
On Wednesday, a feminist and Twitter user named Jean Hatchet had shared an image, expressing her discontent with it.
Expressing her fury towards its substance, Hatchet posted on Twitter, “My internal screaming is drowning out my typing because of this. @kent_police have recently declared that Rape and Domestic Abuse are considered ‘non-emergency’ crimes, and have advised women not to report them in order to ease the workload of call handlers! It is no surprise that women are falling prey to the hands of men. This is a disgrace!”
According to the BBC, Kent Police’s “Click B4 U Call campaign” included a document that urged individuals to utilize online reporting options when appropriate, in order to alleviate the workload of call handlers.
Women’s Equality Party CEO Catherine Smith strongly criticized the flier in question. Smith argued that a real person needs to be involved in communicating with those who have experienced such crimes. She believes that the lack of human interaction demonstrates a lack of prioritization of these types of crimes by the police, which ultimately sends a message to women that their experiences are not taken seriously.
On Wednesday, Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott expressed remorse on Twitter after viewing the BBC report. He stated that the poster was completely incorrect and unsuitable. He also acknowledged that it should never have been displayed and was rightfully removed. He emphasized that rape and domestic abuse incidents have never been deemed as non-emergencies and he will always prioritize treating them with the gravity they deserve. The original article can be found here.
The poster was removed and replaced with a new one that offers guidance on the most effective way to report crimes to law enforcement.