Belfast Telegraph

Police chief Hamilton's Twitter may have been hacked

By Michael Sheils McNamee

The PSNI has said that Chief Constable George Hamilton's Twitter account may have been "maliciously hacked".

The incident happened yesterday, with a number of other Twitter users asking why a tweet had been removed from his account.

It is unclear what it referred to, but other tweets indicated it included a series of numbers.

Detective Chief Inspector Michael Harvey, the head of the PSNI's Cyber Crime Centre, said: "At this time we believe there is a possibility the account was maliciously hacked.

"Enquiries are currently ongoing. There are no further details at this time."

One Twitter user called Mark wrote after seeing the tweet: "@ChiefConPSNI Was that a wee data protection slip up earlier George?"

Sean South added: "Thank you for order... your Chinese takeaway meals will arrive in 30 mins at Knock HQ."

And John O'Connor posted: "Did you mean to send that? Looks like an Admiral Insurance policy number."

It is not the first time that Mr Hamilton has been in trouble on Twitter. Last August, the PSNI chief came under fire for telling a pressured officer to get another job. He was accused of "stunning misjudgment" after he told one of his officers to "dry your eyes" during a late-night spat on the social media platform.

The row erupted in the early hours of a Sunday morning when an officer tweeted concern about the increasing pressures of the job.

He wrote that police were "expected to do more roles than ever anticipated by Sir Robert (Peel)! Social worker, paramedic, child minder etc".

The Chief Constable responded: "I know - more complex & challenging but we are here to serve so let's get on with it rather than wallowing in self pity!"

The officer tweeted back: "Far from self pity. If I wanted to do their job I would have applied. Just keep taking their responsibilities & no one says no."

Mr Hamilton then replied: "Well you're allowed to leave & seek another job - nobody is asking you to stay. Dry your eyes, do the job or move on!"

Mr Hamilton later apologised for his outburst.

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