Merseyside Police apologise over Twitter 'rape joke'
Merseyside Police has apologised over an "inappropriate" tweet about rape made from its official Twitter account.
The force has launched an investigation after a reply was sent to a tweet alluding to Everton's 6-2 win over Sunderland earlier.
Its message read: "Just confirm there was no actual rape. Sunderland certainly got caught with their pants down."
The tweet has since been deleted and the force has posted an apology.
Merseyside Police had been responding to a tweet sent to its account which said: "Hello. I'd like to report an incident of rape that occurred at Goodison Park, Liverpool, on November 1st at 3:00."
A short time after, another Twitter user contacted the police account and wrote: "I'd like to report an incident that's been going on for ages. Chelsea get raped every week, can you help?"
It responded: "Afraid not, it's not a criminal offence to lose week in, week out."
The tweets were deleted after two hours but screen grabs of the exchanges were retweeted multiple times, provoking an angry reaction from many.
In a series of Twitter posts, Merseyside Police offered an apology.
"We would like to apologise for any offence caused by inappropriate tweets from the force account this afternoon," it said.
"They do not reflect the strenuous efforts made by Merseyside Police to investigate serious sexual crimes and protect victims.
A full investigation has been launched into the "inappropriate use" of the official police Twitter account.