The police officer in charge of an investigation into a fracas outside a popular wine bar has taken the unprecedented step of calling for calm on social media.
And Sgt Chris Valentine also sent out a clear warning that people posting threats on social media could find themselves being questioned as part of the police inquiry.
He said: “Anyone who feels the need to be a ‘keyboard warrior’ and post comments about revenge may well find themselves included in my investigation which will be conducted in a police station interview suite.’’
Sgt Valentine posted a statement on Ribble Valley Police’s Facebook page after the incident outside Brady’s wine bar in Whalley prompted hundreds of vitriolic comments, threats and posts on Facebook.
Sgt Valentine said: “The comments being made on Facebook were spiralling out of control and that is why I took the unprecedented step of using social media to put a stop to it and I would ask that people who were not present on the night hold back from making comments or judgements when they do not know the full facts.’’
Two people were arrested after police were called to a disturbance outside the wine bar in Queen Street in the early hours of Sunday, February 21st. Police were called at around 12-45am after an altercation involving a number of people.
One man was arrested and charged with being drunk and disorderly and he was issued with a fixed penalty notice. A woman was also arrested and charged with assaulting a police officer. She was issued with an adult caution.
Sgt Valentine said the incident was unusual for the Ribble Valley which has very few incidents of public disorder.
He added: “The incident was dealt with as a public order offence and no formal complaints were made on the night.
“But since then a formal complaint has been made which has prompted us to look further into the incident.’’
Police officers are examining CCTV footage of the incident outside the wine bar, which opened in August last year, and Sgt Valentine said that all parties involved in the disturbance would also be given the opportunity to see it. He also said that those in the wrong would be prosecuted if appropriate after consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service.
Sgt Valentine also appealed for anyone who witnessed the incident on the night to come forward. He said: “We would like to hear from anyone who was on a night out independent of any of the parties involved who may have seen what happened.’’
Anyone with information is asked to contact the police on 101