Say what? BBC rolls out bizarre story of ‘more than 1,600 police officers’ killed on duty… since 19th century
The piece, boldly dubbed ‘More than 1,600 officers have been killed in line of duty’ was produced by BBC London on Friday, following the overnight incident in Croydon. A 23-year-old suspect shot and killed a police officer moments after being arrested. The suspect then turned the gun on himself.
1600 officers have been killed by criminal acts in the UK ...since 1680! What the hell #BBC! Why not include date in headline?! #BBCShame #1680 1758 have died in police custody since 1990! 30 YEARS pic.twitter.com/zhgaNsuIaj— 🌹Tracy loves cats, wants equality! (@tracyann432) September 25, 2020
Despite having the deceptive headline, the BBC piece explains that said “1,600 officers” have been “killed by criminal acts in the line of duty since 1862,” citing the National Police Memorial roll of honor.
In fact, the UK Police roll of honor spans back to the Night Watch, created by Charles II, that even predated the formal establishment of the United Kingdom itself. The list contains more than 4,000 names of members of various law enforcement forces that have existed in Britain since the late 17th century. Some 500 police officers from Great Britain, and some 1,000 more from assorted colonial forces more are still being researched.
It was not immediately clear why the BBC rather arbitrarily cut the list at the 1862 mark. The decision might simply stem from the fact that the earliest police casualties, mentioned in a daily remembrance widget, were two constables who died back in 1862.
Sky News, for instance, decided to go past that milestone, tracing back officers' killings to the 17th century instead. The channel reported likewise on Friday that “more than 1,600 officers have died while performing vital tasks such as foiling terrorists, quelling rioters and marshalling protests since 1600", citing the very same document. The article is still available on its website.
The bizarre tribute story did not miss the eye of the Internet crowd, immediately coming under a storm of mockery. Many users accused the BBC of producing the worst-ever clickbait headline, arguing that it would not hurt to explicitly state the timeframe.
Why has the BBC fallen to this level of arid & unhelpful reporting ? More than 1,600 officers have been killed in line of duty in the past 300 odd yrsWe would all rather it was 0 But there have been more than 1000 civilian deaths in police custody in the past 30 yrs— SEDickens (Activist Lawyer Fan Cub) (@dickens_se) September 25, 2020
Others targeted the honor roll itself, fuming about what forces exactly are honored on the list that includes colonial paramilitary units such as the Royal Irish Constabulary.
Including collaborators in the Irish War of Independence and those enforcing a supremacist apartheid in Northern Ireland.Tragic. pic.twitter.com/uvV3FheEPb— David Ó Laıġeanáın 🌳 🏴🚩 (@coconutlulz) September 25, 2020
Some users took a more light hearted approach, joking about a very broad definition of what being killed “in the line of duty” means. The list mentions officers who perished in various accidents, such as being run over by a horse carriage.
this is intentionally misleading. change this headline to what you actually mean — 1600 cops have died on duty to both violent and, predominantly, non-violent causes since the year 1680. although that doesn't exactly have the desired effect, does it?— scrappy (@m0thpiss) September 25, 2020
Lol, you should specify that your talking about the tv show "Line Of Duty"— Seán O))) 🐺 (@sireacht) September 25, 2020
Later in the day, the BBC took down its tweet promoting the story and released a bizarre clarification on the headline, saying it “contained information from the National Police Memorial Roll.” The BBC has also tweaked the story itself, renaming it as ‘Remembering officers killed in the line of duty’ and, for some reason, axing the time frame from the text altogether.Also on rt.com London police officer shot dead by man being detained at station, attacker then turned gun on himself
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