A Police Scotland officer is being probed by bosses after branding lockdown rules “a joke” and demanding the public be allowed to “go back to normal” – despite soaring Covid-19 cases.
Chelsea Renton, who is based at Cathcart Police Office in Glasgow, criticised lockdown laws she is paid to enforce and shared the outburst on her Instagram page.
In a bid to downplay the effect of the virus, which has already killed 2510 Scots, she told her followers that “the recovery rate of Covid-19 far outweighs the death rate. The statistics speak for themselves”.
She urged political leaders to “get the country going again” after a raft of new lockdown measures were announced this week.
In the controversial statement shared in an open social media page, the officer said she had seen first-hand the impact that lockdowns were having on mental health through her role in the force.
Meanwhile, a police source said the statement showed a “blatant disrespect” for the rules Renton is employed to enforce.
Her words came to light after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced tougher restrictions aimed at protecting Scots from an anticipated “second wave” of the virus, which is expected to hit the UK within weeks.
This week brought the biggest single day’s number of positive cases in Scotland since mass testing began.
But Police Constable Renton, who has four years’ service with Police Scotland and also runs events firm My Little Events Co, insisted lockdown rules were not necessary.
She wrote: “The UK Government is an absolute joke. The country is crumbling around us because of a virus that isn’t going anywhere so allow us to go back to normal.
“Stop putting people in lockdowns. It clearly doesn’t work. Get the country going again.
“People are dying from missed cancer treatments, transplants, suicidal rate is higher than ever.
“The recovery rate of Covid-19 far outweighs the death rate. The statistics speak for themselves.
“As a police officer, I’ve spent more time in the past five months attending calls relating to mental health, people’s welfare and suicides, than calls relating to actual crime.
“I have never been more ashamed to be British and how we are allowing the most vulnerable to live out their remaining time on Earth, alone without any contact from loved ones in our care homes.”
The post added: “Stop the bus. I want off now.”
Police Scotland officers are given strict guidance on what they can and cannot share on social media.
Last year, the force told our sister paper the Sunday Mail that officers “should never reveal their personal details and under no circumstances make reference to being a police officer” or display anything which clearly shows that they work for Police Scotland.
The force’s code of ethics states that employees should act as a “positive role model in delivering a professional, impartial service, placing service to communities before my personal aims”.
A source said Renton’s post was not fitting with what is expected of an officer. They said: “Here is an Instagram post of a serving Police Scotland officer.
“It is someone who is meant to be imposing the rules yet has a blatant disrespect for them.”
When we contacted Renton about her post, she said she did not wish to make any further comment.
A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “We are aware of this Instagram post, which is not reflective of Police Scotland’s views or approach.
“We will consider what further action is proportionate.”