Most of the time, Lush is one of those companies that stays completely clear of all controversy. If it has a campaign, it’s usually something we can all agree on like anti-animal testing or advocating for human rights. This time, the cosmetic store has hit a nerve with its bizarre campaign that claims police officers are paid to lie.

The point of the campaign is apparently to expose corrupt police officers in the UK, however, some have criticised Lush for targeting the entire police force. Our local Lush store in Gateshead posted a statement claiming some of its employees are uncomfortable with the #spycops posters which have since been removed from the shop window.

If social media is anything to go off, it seems that most people aren’t comfortable with the suggested anti-police rhetoric either. @UKCopHumour tweeted:

West Midlands Police Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson responded to this campaign by calling it “crass” and “insensitive”.

“Police officers put their lives on the line day in day out,” he said.

“Lush have needlessly waded into a highly complex area. This firm relies on the police to do their job tackling shoplifting and other crimes against businesses. This is a puerile and immature campaign, clearly written by an inexperienced PR consultant.”

The shoplifting part raises an important question. Will Lush still be contacting the police when a crime occurs in one of its stores? Or can we all just waltz into our nearest Lush, grab an armful of bath bombs and be on our way? As Jamieson said, the PR team has needlessly opened a real can of worms.

As with all scandals, the people of Twitter have been bickering relentlessly. A number of hashtags have emerged as result of this debate. For those who agree with @UKCopHumour and other policing figures, the hashtags #flushlush and #boycottlush have come about. Those who believe Lush didn’t go far enough have recycled #ACAB and similar anti-police expressions.

The most emotive response came from this police officer:

He has it spot on. If Lush wants to bring attention to a small group of corrupt police officers they should launch a much more specific and targeted campaign. Hanging a picture of a policeman with ‘PAID TO LIE’ branded across his face is an inexcusable and irresponsible anti-police message.