Harry Dunn’s family calls for action after Northants Police chief's 'shocking' tweet

Twitter exchange has led to strong criticism from Harry Dunn’s family

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By Natalie Bloomer

The family of Harry Dunn has slammed the chief of Northants Police Nick Adderley and called for action after he replied to a tweet about previous comments he made about the case, branding it ‘media nonsense’.

Harry died in a road collision near RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire. The suspect in the case Anne Sacoolas claimed diplomatic immunity and left the UK.

On Saturday during a Twitter spat, Adderley was sent a link to an article detailing criticism of his past comments on social media about the case. In October 2019, he commented on news that the family could take legal action against Sacoolas saying it was “sad but predictable”. He quickly deleted the tweet and later said he had not meant it to cause offence.

However on Saturday he replied to the link to the article saying:

“There is far more recent media nonsense to report on.. Come on... Look up Nick Adderley and shopping trolleys”.

The spokesperson for the Dunn family, Radd Seiger, told NN Journal that the comments are shocking.

“This is an absolutely shocking exchange on Mr Adderley’s police owned social media account. It is not his personal account,” he said.

“Harry’s parents lost all respect for Mr Adderley following his first press conference in the case and when he tweeted his unprofessional tweet about the steps we were taking to get justice for Harry in October 2019, expressing a personal opinion which was again on a police owned account. I note he now refers to that episode as media nonsense, which it most certainly was not. 

“We all appreciate our leaders hopping onto social media and being open and transparent with us the public about their professional work and responsibilities. But he regularly engages in attacking and belittling anyone who has the temerity to criticise him. 

“What on earth is the chief constable of Northamptonshire Police doing using a police owned account to skirmish with someone who has a legitimate right to criticise him and express her opinion, but who only has 100 followers? It is a wholly inappropriate use of the police account. I trust this conduct will be brought to the police and crime commissioner Stephen Mold’s attention and urgent action will be taken so as to protect the good name of the force.”

A subject access request submitted to the Foreign Office and Home Office recently revealed that Adderley wrote in an email that “the issue is with the family’s spokesperson who would disclose any engagement to the media and may not do so accurately.” This led to him being referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct following a complaint from the family.

Both Adderley and his chief of staff Colleen Rattigan are avid Twitter users who regularly ‘entertain’ other officers and Twitter users with their social media banter.

But both have also been involved with arguments on the site which has at times led to people with very small accounts being bombarded with messages from followers of the pair.

Last month Stephen Mold told NN Journal that on occasion he has pulled the chief constable up on some of his social media activity, but would not be drawn on the occasions. He did say he has told him “I think you were a bit close to the mark on that one”.

We contacted Northamptonshire Police about Adderley’s tweet over the weekend but they declined to comment.