Keep social media truthful: Don’t post false cases and waste police resources

 

Community members are advised by the Douglasdale Sector 4 Community Policing Forum not to report false cases via social media.

This comes after concerns have risen over the increasing number of false social media posts about missing, kidnapped and abducted girls and women.

According to the forum, social media is a helpful medium for both the community and the police. However, the hoaxes, fake news and the dissemination of false information which they have experienced lately not only sow panic among the community but also wastes the police’s time and resources.

On 30 May, a social media post alleging the abduction of a girl in Naledi, Soweto, by persons in a Quantum vehicle went viral.

“After an immediate and thorough investigation, the owner of the Quantum was traced and could prove that the vehicle had been parked and immobile over the period of the alleged abduction. When the originator of the post was traced for clarity, she could not substantiate her story,” read the forum statement.

READ: Ex-St Stithian, Rob Gautschi has been missing for 17 years and his family is devasted

The forum added that many social media posts relating to crime in general and crimes against women, children and vulnerable persons are relevant and helpful to the police.

“After all, we participate on social media platforms in order to interact with communities and obtain their views and inputs. Policing is a consultative and collaborative process and the police have no intention of serving and protecting in isolation from our communities.”

Hoaxes and false posts, some even maliciously published to extract revenge on an individual, to attract attention or to make a lover jealous, not only diverts the police’s stretched resources but can also have far-reaching repercussions.

“Whilst state resources are being utilised to verify and investigate hoaxes, the police are being diverted from performing their constitutionally mandated duties of preventing, detecting and combating crime and this is an untenable situation,” the former acting National Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Khomotso Phahlane said.

He added that just as in the event of a person laying a false criminal charge, those spreading false information through social media, leading to a crime being committed or fruitless use of state resources, would be investigated and prosecuted or subjected to civil litigation to recover police expenses.

READ: Man fakes kidnapping to pay off debts

 

What else do you think community members should refrain from posting on social media? Share your views on the Sandton Chronicle Facebook page.

  AUTHOR
Masego Seemela
Journalist

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