Insp Fergus Caulfield, from the Castle Point and Rochford community policing team, has spoken out about the use of social media to draw attention to crime amid a recent increase in burglaries on the island.
Spoken out in favour, I assume? After all, it’s proving very useful at the moment (unlike Essex Police):
Islanders often turn to Facebook pages such as Canvey Island Crimewatch and Canvey Island Community to warn others about suspicious behaviour or when they have been a victim of crime.
The pages have seen more posts than usual over recent days, as the island has been targeted by burglars in the early hours of the morning.
But if you thought the police would welcome this example of initiative and community assistance…well, you’ve be dead wrong! Fergus isn’t happy at all…
“I think people need to understand the bigger picture – the number of burglaries compared to the population is quite small, it is just because it is all in one place.”
I’m not sure that’s much of a comfort, Fergus, ol’ son…
“We use social media. It can be brilliant to circulate CCTV and try and retrieve lost or stolen items.”
Yeah, but it helps if it’s immediate, not when Essex Police get around to it (often weeks or even months later).
“Instead of posting CCTV on Facebook, it needs to be sent to police. And if anyone wants to volunteer to carry out patrols, we have a fantastic active citizen initiative that is already set up, where people can volunteer to help the police.”
You see, something isn’t a ‘community initiative’ if it’s just the community doing it on their own. It needs to have an agent of the State take a guiding hand, or it might come to the wrong conclusions.
Mind how you go, now…