Police tell Twitter that missing girl is safe before telling mom

A U.K. police force apologizes after announcing on its Twitter feed that a missing 12-year-old girl is safe before telling her mom.

Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Perhaps it is unreasonable to accuse the police of being sad virtual beings, when the rest of society is already that way.

The temptation is great, though, when I tell you the story, via The Daily Mail, of the police force that located a missing 12-year-old girl.

You might think that the police in the U.K.'s Bolton East immediately called her mom, in order to soothe her concerns. You might think that raccoons enjoy a fine pinot noir with their trash.

For the first thing the police did was send a tweet. It read: "CHOLE (sic) HAS BEEN FOUND BY POLICE IN THE TOWN CENTRE!!! THANK YOU PLEASE RT!"

Is there anything more endearing than a crowing, tweeting copper?

Surely, though, the police then called Chloe's mom. Not quite. For her mom tweeted back to the police: "Has my daughter been found."

Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

The police, ever alert, it seems, on its Twitter beat, replied: "@bluemoonshine72 yes an officer will be in touch or call 101 and they will update and return her thank you."

Should you have been mom of Chloe, who had reportedly disappeared from her school Monday morning, would you have felt lovely about calling 101? Or would you have preferred to teach this police force Humanity 101?

The Daily Mail reported that the police did apologize--but only, it seems, as they received an irate tweet from someone else. The police replied: "Officers on the ground contact mum direct I was unaware at time of posting mum had not been advised and can only apologize."

The Mail quoted the mom as being "surprised" that police didn't get around to contacting her. One imagines that in Bolton, a gritty northern town with a poor soccer team, surprise is adorned with a few choice accompanying words.

Some might see this episode as representing a mere lack of coordination. Some might see it as proof that everything happens first on Twitter.

But there are surely times when social media simply isn't the priority. There are many.

 

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