The quickly deleted post joked surfaced earlier today and featured a meme from the American sitcom The Office.
Above the meme, New Zealand Police posted: “When we have to tell someone their family member has died in a crash.”
Offended tweeters said the post made light of “the worst day of many peoples lives” and the force quickly tweeted an apology.
OK, it’s only Monday, but this tweet by NZ Police already takes the booby prize for social media fail of the week. Tone-deaf. pic.twitter.com/w4xG3NAyPL
— Nik Dirga (@nikdirga) October 9, 2017
One commenter, Nik Dirga said: “OK, it’s only Monday, but this tweet by NZ Police already takes the booby prize for social media fail of the week. Tone-deaf.”
“Staggering that anyone even considered tweeting that, let alone searched for the meme, drafted the tweet and then shared with the world!” said another poster, Scott Warren.
NZ Police responded by taking the post down and posting a statement online thanking those who complained for their feedback.
“We’re sorry this was not meant to cause offence. Telling someone their family member has died is literally the worst part of the job,” NZ Police tweeted.
“Telling someone their loved one is not coming home is one of the hardest things cops ever have to do.
“We apologise for the recent road safety tweet. We quickly realised it was wrong and insensitive and it was immediately deleted. Thx (sic) for feedback.”
Karen Jones, the force’s Deputy Chief Executive Public Affairs also told news.com.au the “road safety tweet” imagery was “wrong”.
“We feel terrible about this mistake, as we put victims at the heart of what police do,” she said.
“Social media is a hugely important channel to NZ Police and we appreciated the prompt feedback we got from members of our community who pointed out the inappropriateness of the tweet.
“We are extremely sorry and will learn from this.”
Just last month, NSW police media wrote a grovelling online apology to State of Origin referee Matt Cecchin after posting a doctored photo of the leading NRL whistleblower in a Maroons jersey as a joke gone wrong.
The state’s police force posted the fake picture of Cecchin in the Queensland colours on Facebook before game three of this year’s series.
A caption accompanying the image said: “NSW Police uncover QLD’s plan to replace Johnathan Thurston in game three.”
NSW Police Force apologised for the picture and acknowledged “hurt and damage” to the ref’s reputation. It’s understood Cecchin personally made an official complaint to the police force and not through NRL channels.