Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 21, 2017 (RSCNPF): Commissioner of Police Mr. Ian Queeley is openly appealing to members of the public to take their social responsibility more seriously and cease from the manufacturing and distribution of fictitious incidents of criminal activity in social media.
Commissioner Queeley spoke in particular to events of Tuesday (June 20) in which after an unfortunate incident at the Joseph N. France General Hospital, to which the Police responded and quickly apprehended a suspect, a number of social media postings began to circulate indicating other events across the island.
Persons began circulating postings of reported a Robbery at Western Union, then a shooting incident in Keys/Cayon, then one of a killing of a female among others. None of which were true.
The Commissioner noted all reports of incidents of Crime are investigated by the Police, and it takes resources to respond, he said, “a team of officers were dispatched to the Keys/Cayon area in response to these reports and did extensive searches only to find no evidence to support the claims.” He went on, “resources were also expended to verify the validity of the other stories.” He added, “not only does it take resources, it also disrupts the normalcy for residents going about their day to day routine and instill fear in the community.”
Commissioner Queeley said, “the use of social media is an indispensable part of our modern day living, however, it must be used responsibly.” He said, “We all have a huge moral and social responsibility when using social media. Before you press the button to send, verify if the incident is true and consider the potential consequences of your messages on the community.” Persons need also to be compassionate, respectful and show empathy to victims of Crime.
The Commissioner expressed, “if persons must share information regarding Crime and Criminal Activity, please share our daily Crime Safety Prevention Tips that can help reduce the risk of you, your family or friends becoming a victim of Crime, rather than information that detracts and brings the fear of crime into our communities.”
Commissioner Queeley noted the Police pledges to provide reliable and accurate information in a timely and consistent basis through regular Press Releases and postings on the Facebook Page www.facebook.com/RoyalStChristopherAndNevisPoliceForce and encouraged the local media to contact the Public Relations Department to confirm reports of incidents prior to inclusion their broadcast or publications. He also echoed the Police’s appeal for Citizens to partner with the Police in the fight against Crime and encouraged persons to share whatever information they may have regarding crime by using anonymous means such as Crime Stoppers at 1 -800-8477 (TIPS) or by using the SKN Crime Reporter App on their Smartphone.
This is not the first time Commissioner Queeley has had to use the media to condemn the practice of the creation and dissemantion of false crime reports or as some describe as FAKE NEWS. Over the last 8 months the Police High Command has had to issue statements refuting various untrue statements and claims made by the Opposition regarding a number of criminal activities. Commissioner Queeley blasted Opposition Senator Nigel Carty after Carty had stated that the police was engaged in a practice of planting guns to manufacture success stories .
“The High Command of the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force at this time registers its strong disappointment at comments made in the broadcast media by a Federal Parliamentarian, the Honourable Nigel Carty, an Opposition Senator in the Federal Parliament,” Queeley said.
The Commissioner continued “The remarks made by Senator Carty against the dedicated men and women of the Police Service can only be described as irresponsible, calculated to erode and undermine the herculean efforts of the Police Service to ensure public safety. It is unfortunate that Senator Carty, whose responsibility as a Parliamentarian is to uphold the law and the preservation of the same, would engage in this type of behavior.”
Similar statements were issued by the Commissioner in response to comments made by MP Hon. Marcella Liburd at a Crime Symposium. Observers have described the surgeance of FAKE NEWS or Fictitious Crime Reports as a practice fuelled by the SKN Opposition to sway public support in their favour.