A police officer has sparked a row in the force after a tweet about drug addicts in which he says he is “fed up” and ends: “#TooMuchEmpathy”.
Devon and Cornwall armed response officer Sgt Harry Tangye has now taken down the tweet, saying: “It’s too big a subject for 140 characters.”
Police in Truro said they “strongly disagree” with the tweet.
Sgt Tangye apologised earlier this month for another tweet of film of a 140mph police chase.
Off-duty Sgt Tangye, winner of the Police Twitter Awards in 2016, wrote: “Addicted to drugs? I’m fed up with being your keeper. You knew the risks. Find help, use help, sort it, or get lost. #TooMuchEmpathy.”
Sgt Tangye told BBC News the tweets were his views, not the force’s, and he was referring to drug addicts who refused to get help.
“Some are quite criminal and create merry hell and they are destroying a lot of towns and cities,” he said.
“They should accept help but some are feeding on other victims and creating other victims around them.
“I am a very ‘people person’ but I see the same names time and time again destroying areas.”
Devon and Cornwall Police said in a statement that “social media interaction” by officers with the public “is vital” and “there has been, and no doubt in the future will be examples of posts and subjects discussed, some of which can be controversial”.
It added: “The issue of addiction is hugely complex; understanding and tackling this is something that takes the resources and efforts of a number of public bodies and not just the police.”
And it said despite “personal frustrations” from officers seeing the negative effects of addiction, “we as a force will always expect our officers to work with and support those who need our help, and to signpost those in need of specialist care towards the appropriate body”.
The BBC approached a number of drugs charities but none wanted to comment.
However, a former addict who is now a volunteer at the Narcotics Anonymous helpline said his family’s “tough love” helped him recover.
“I was one of those troublemakers,” he said.
“Most drug addicts are in denial and for years I did not think I had a problem.
“It was only when my family stopped enabling me, stopped putting a roof over my head, that I accepted responsibility that it was my problem and I did something about it.
“So I agree with everything he says.”