Backlash against police 'scaremongering' follows emergency 'grab bag' tweet

Police Scotland has been pilloried after tweeting a graphic of a survival kit it says people need to have ready in case of emergency.

This picture, tweeted by Police Scotland, has caused both anger and amusement on social media
This picture, tweeted by Police Scotland, has caused both anger and amusement on social media

The tweet, with a graphic of a rucksack containing what people need to have on standby, was sent out on Sunday morning as part of Preparedness Month.

Food, water, a first aid kit and a torch are among the "essential items" listed as things people should have ready to pick up and take in a grab bag in the event of an emergency.

The tweet stated: "September is preparedness month. Emergencies can happen at any time and it's recommended to have a #GrabBag ready containing essential items including medication, copies of important documents, food/water, torch, radio and other personal items."

Rude reception 

But it has generated a huge reaction on social media, with more than 7,000 engagements and the police force accused of using scare tactics with Britain just weeks away from crashing out of Europe in a 'no-deal' scenario.

One user, bellshillbaker, said: "This is crass. Scaring people with no explanations. What emergencies do you envisage? Brexit? War? Civil disturbance? Flood? Pestilence? Nuclear accident? Martial Law?"

Another, Sharon Gathercole, commented: "Confusing/worrying. I'm 50 years old, lived here all my life and have never been given this kind of advice before. You need to explain."

Others joked about the notion of an emergency survival pack, creating their own ‘grab bags’ filled with alcohol or snacks.

And there has been negative coverage of the force’s messaging across mainstream media. One article, in The Guardian, mocked the campaign with the headline: "Cigarettes and a coffee loyalty card: what you really need in your emergency grab bag."

Police Scotland response

In a statement, a Police Scotland spokesperson said: "The messaging is part of a general resilience awareness campaign that runs each year during September which emergency services and partners across Britain are taking part in."

The force is one of a number of public sector bodies recently advising people to have a grab bag ready, with posts on social media by Thames Valley Police, Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service and Kirklees Council.

It is part of an annual awareness campaign by @30Days30WaysUK that has been running every September for several years in the UK.

"Taking proactive steps to be better prepared will help you not only with everyday emergencies but also with far less likely incidents," the campaign website states.

It is supported by a number of emergency services and local authorities and had been relatively low key until now. 

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