Surrey Police have been forced to apologise after furious social media users flew into a frenzy over a "racist" tweet.
Police were left red-faced after they posted a Tweet with the words "Officers 1 Immigrants 0" which was branded "disgraceful and ignorant."
The message, from the official GuildfordBeat account was hashtagged #WeWillCatchUpWithYou.
The tweet was quickly removed and an apology issued, but not before Twitter had voiced its outrage:
Guildford Police tweeted : " Police 1 - 0 Immigrants" earlier. Ye Gods, where are we heading in this country?— Mountain Boy (@sharpeleven) October 24, 2013
@GuildfordBeat I'd like to report that Enoch Powell's rotting cadaver appears to have hacked your twitter feed.— Andrew Stone (@NotoffPineapple) October 24, 2013
Guildford police making me feel ashamed to have ever lived in Surrey. https://t.co/bRfn6hy8C6— Jami Welch (@iamseams) October 24, 2013
@GuildfordBeat this is one of the single worst tweets ever sent, everything that is wrong with certain people in the UK— TOCS (@TOCSmusic) October 24, 2013
@GuildfordBeat DISGUSTING, racism alive and kicking and on display,no more police just government minions— tanya dale (@tj2275) October 24, 2013
One user even compared the tweet to the Home Office's controversial illegal immigration van.
@GuildfordBeat Seems like you're as bad as the "go home" vans we've seen.— Link Cabin (@LinkCabin) October 24, 2013
Responding to the flurry of complaints on Twitter, GuildfordBeat said: “Apologies for the earlier tweet around immigration. The wording used was inappropriate and has been removed. Sorry for any offence caused.
“We would like to make it clear that the views expressed in the earlier tweet do not reflect those of the Force. Error of judgement there.”
The incident followed a joint operation with the UK Border Agency in which eight people were apprehended for suspected immigration offences at Sainsbury's in Burpham. Acting on intelligence, officers visited the car wash in the supermarket's car park.
A spokesperson for the Migrants' Rights Network told GetSurrey: "This should set alarm bells ringing. It is unhelpful and will cause great offence across the same communities the police is tasked with protecting and serving.
“The Guildford police now needs to pause and think why this happened and what they will do to begin rebuilding the trust that is needed to keep Guildford borough a safe place."