fair cop | 

Police defend themselves after being criticised for ‘releasing’ Irishman wanted in the UK

Christopher Sweeney (31) who speaks with an Irish accent is described as white, about 5ft 9ins, of average build, with hazel to green eyes, and closely cut dark hair

Christopher Sweeney

Neil FetherstonhaughSunday World

Police in the UK have taken to social media to defend themselves after an appeal for information on an Irishman drew sharp criticism.

Avon & Somerset Police issued the appeal in relation to Christopher Sweeney, who is said to speak with an Irish accent as he is wanted on a prison recall.

Sweeney (31) is described as white, about 5ft 9ins, of average build, with hazel to green eyes, and closely cut dark hair.

He is said to have links to the south Bristol area and police urged the public to dial 999 if he was spotted.

Alongside a mugshot of Sweeney, featuring one bloodshot eye and dark hair, Avon & Somerset Police had written: "Have you seen Christopher Sweeney who is wanted by police?

"The 31-year-old is wanted on a prison recall.

"He’s described as white, about 5ft 9ins, of average build, with short dark hair and hazel-coloured eyes. Sweeney is said to speak with an Irish accent.”

However, in the comments section on the Facebook post people slammed the police, saying the force was to blame for releasing him in the first place.

One said: “Well if u didn't release them u wouldn't have to try find them.”

Another added: “Makes me so cross, why release them at all?”

One other person said: “Moral of the story: Don't release criminals from prison, because they'll likely do a runner.”

The comments prompted the police to issue a clarification “to avoid confusion”.

“In this case we are seeking information to find someone wanted on a prison recall, which is different to anyone who absconds or fails to return to prison,” the police said.

“Generally speaking, when someone is released from prison before the end of their sentence, normally there are conditions attached to it which they must adhere to.

“Failure to do so can see them recalled to prison to serve the rest of their sentence.

“We hope that clarification is helpful.”

Others backed the police pointing out that: “The police have no involvement in releasing prisoners, so your pointing the finger at the wrong people.”

Another added: “The police ARE doing something- they’re posting this guy’s face on Social media as one of the lines of enquiry into finding him for the prison service. The prison service released him early with certain conditions that he obviously didn’t bother adhering to.”

One added: “The irony here is that you think the police don’t do anything when in reality they’re actually doing everybody else’s jobs for them.”

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