Be Careful of What you Put on WhatsApp

admin Fri, 04/28/2017 - 18:51

In a recent High Court Judgment in East London, it was ruled :

It has been common practice that Neighbourhood Watches to send information via social media platforms, although it is an effective means of warning members and residents of certain dangers, the use of this information without verification of the information can and will lead to civil claims against the Police department. All information received by a police official, as a rule has to be personally verified, by the police official and after a preliminary investigation and verification of the facts, a member may proceed with the necessary action.

In this case there was a burglary in the area and a vehicle description was sent over a WhatsApp group. The police member on the group, tracked down a vehicle of that description and arrested all four occupants. What should have happened is the police member should have searched the vehicle and if no evidence was found to link them to the burglary, he should have released them after noting their particulars.

Members of WhatsApp groups involving Neighbourhood Watches should be careful with what they post. I've noticed complete mis-interpretations of a situation, and when the facts were checked with the police, the story becomes completely inaccurate. This can of course lead to civil action in a court of law in certain circumstances.