By SANCHESKA DORSETT
Tribune Staff Reporter
SENIOR Assistant Commissioner of Police Stephen Dean has appealed to members of the public to “be more responsible while online” after he said a series of false murder reports and other “fake news” about serious crimes has caused the public “unnecessary panic and stress.”
In a statement, Senior ACP Dean said while social media is a helpful medium for both the community and police, the hoaxes, fake news and the dissemination of false information “not only sows panic among our communities, but also wastes the police’s time and resources.”
His comments came after a Facebook post claiming the police were “working with criminals” went viral.
In the post, which was also shared on the messaging platform WhatsApp, an unknown woman claimed she was pulled over by the police Monday for a “broken tail light” and shortly thereafter, she claimed “some men in a Honda” attempted to rob her by crashing into her car.
At the end of the post, the woman claimed the police told the would-be thieves that she was in the vehicle alone so “they could rob me.” She warned the public not to trust the Royal Bahamas Police Force.
Senior ACP Dean described the post as “false.”
“In light of the growing trend of false posts on social media about murders and other serious crimes, which in some cases caused panic in our communities, the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) is appealing to members of the public to be more responsible while online,” Senior ACP Dean said.
“More recently, social media sites such as Facebook and the popular WhatsApp messenger platform were being bombarded with various stories of multiple murders and armed robberies which were unfounded. While 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 we have experienced of late not only sows panic among our communities, but also wastes the police’s time and resources.”
Senior ACP Dean urged members of the public to always seek information from the police and trusted news agencies “to avoid causing unnecessary stress to those affected or who may be affected by a crime.”