The Metropolitan Police commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, has strongly condemned the “horrendous personal, sexist, and homophobic” comments directed at Commander Karen Findlay, the newly-appointed assistant chief constable. In a statement released on Saturday, Sir Mark Rowley expressed his anger and frustration, denouncing the online trolls, many of whom remained anonymous, for their vile comments.

Commander Findlay recently moved from the Metropolitan Police to the British Transport Police (BTP), and the announcement post on social media became the target of offensive remarks. Sir Mark Rowley emphasised that such behaviour is unacceptable and occurs too frequently. He raised concerns about the escalating intensity of racist, sexist, and homophobic abuse faced by police officers on social media, noting that this trend is detrimental at a time when efforts are being made to attract officers from under-represented communities.

Highlighting the damaging impact of the abusive comments on those dedicated to protecting and serving the public, Sir Mark Rowley called for reflection on social media users’ actions. He asserted that the online abuse is intrusive, vile, and hateful, and he insisted that his colleagues deserve better treatment.

Commander Karen Findlay, with over 30 years of policing experience, condemned the “homophobic, sexist vileness” in a post on social media. She urged that her appointment be judged based on professional experience, contribution, and commitment. Additionally, she reposted a statement from BTP’s chief constable, Lucy D’Orsi, who expressed shock at the homophobic messages and pledged to keep the post celebrating the appointment on social media to spotlight the misogyny women in policing continue to face.

Several other senior officers joined in, denouncing the abusive comments. Matt Jukes, Britain’s most senior counter-terrorism officer, described the misogyny prompted by the incident as infuriating. Pippa Mills, Met assistant commissioner, dismissed the offensive comments from anonymous accounts, emphasising the wave of congratulations from colleagues as a testament to Karen’s reputation. College of Policing CEO Andy Marsh declared that the abusive comments faced by Ms. Findlay were not acceptable.

Karen Findlay, a rugby coach and former Scottish international, has a distinguished policing career, overseeing significant events such as the King’s coronation and the Queen’s funeral and playing a crucial role in the security operation for the 2012 Olympics. She was also appointed Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order in the recent New Year Honours.

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