Social Media Caution: Selby Police Urge Restraint in Sharing Crime Suspects’ Pictures

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In a recent plea to the public, the Selby Neighbourhood Policing Group has asked residents to exercise caution before posting pictures of individuals they suspect to be involved in criminal activities. The call comes amidst concerns that such social media posts could compromise ongoing investigations and potentially lead to the collapse of legal proceedings.

A spokesperson for the Selby Neighbourhood Policing Group expressed reservations in a special interview broadcasted on the Save Our Selby Facebook page. The spokesperson shed light on the intricate challenges faced by law enforcement when dealing with the dissemination of potential suspects’ images on platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

“When conducting investigations involving the review of CCTV for potential identification purposes, law enforcement has to disclose everything that may be put on social media,” the spokesperson explained. “This disclosure could undermine a case, as it might be perceived as influencing a witness to make an identification for investigative purposes rather than a genuine recognition.”

The crux of the matter, according to the spokesperson, lies in the potential ramifications of online posts. The public is urged to consider whether sharing such images could impact an ongoing investigation negatively. While acknowledging the desire of individuals to raise awareness about incidents in their community, the spokesperson cautioned that seemingly innocuous posts could later prove crucial to an investigation, potentially undermining the entire legal process.

“It’s obviously a sensitive subject because people do want to highlight what’s happened in their community,” the spokesperson acknowledged. “The question to consider is, by putting this picture online, could it have an impact on an investigation?”

The spokesperson further elaborated on the delicate nature of the issue, stating, “When someone puts a picture or a video, at that time, it may not seem to be very relevant, but later down the line, it could become very pertinent to an investigation and could undermine something which ultimately could result in a case not being seen at court and the offender getting away with it. So it could have quite a detrimental effect.”

Addressing concerns about the potential dismissal of cases due to public posts, the spokesperson confirmed that it was indeed a possibility. “It is certainly a possibility the defence could raise that. And identification is one of the factors that the defence do look at often, to try and undermine a case. Cases have been lost at court due to a breach of the code of PACE, that is the legislation that governs identification during an investigation. So cases will have been lost before.”

In response to the question of why the police themselves often release video footage and pictures of individuals wanted in connection with crimes, the spokesperson clarified the key distinctions in their approach. “If law enforcement releases videos and images, it can be for a number of different reasons, but one of them would be it normally happens AFTER a court case has finished, and such videos can be released. If there’s a release of images of persons that law enforcement needs to speak to, it will have been considered beforehand whether it is a required line of inquiry, and it will all be documented as to exactly why such an image is being released. It could have an impact, and law enforcement will consider it closely when releasing images during investigations.”

The cautionary words from the Selby Neighbourhood Policing Group highlight the delicate balance that law enforcement must navigate in the age of social media. While public awareness and engagement are crucial in solving crimes, the unintended consequences of premature online disclosures underscore the need for thoughtful consideration before sharing potentially sensitive information. Residents of Selby are encouraged to collaborate with the police and report suspicious activities through official channels, ensuring a secure and effective process for criminal investigations.

Danielle Trigg
Danielle Trigg
Journalist Danielle is a skilled journalist specializing in regional coverage across the United Kingdom. With her wealth of experience and in-depth knowledge, Danielle dives into the stories that matter to local communities. Her meticulous research and engaging writing style captivate readers, providing them with a comprehensive understanding of the dynamic business landscape. Danielle's commitment to delivering accurate and thought-provoking news sets her apart, making her an invaluable asset to the News Write Ups team.

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