Social media expanding the thin, blue line

COLLETTE DEVLIN
Last updated 05:00 07/06/2013

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The Southland community can now help police solve and prevent crime via social media.

Inspector Olaf Jensen of Invercargill launched the Southland Police Facebook page yesterday, which he hopes will generate "likes" from the community.

Police were increasingly using social media to catch criminals and he urged Southlanders on Facebook to support the police with its new venture.

Southland police may consider exploring the use of other social media such as Twitter in the future, he said.

Facebook had become a useful part of the crime-fighting tool kit throughout New Zealand.

There were about 30 official police Facebook pages, including in Queenstown and Dunedin, which had proved successful he said.

Police posted mugshots and CCTV footage on the sites and received help from the public to locate criminals. Social media had provided police with the opportunity to interact with communities and to seek information that could help in investigations.

The Southland police facebook page would be focused on community engagement and would also include crime prevention messaging, he said.

"This will include posting arrest warrants, videos and putting out messages on major operations with high public interest or a public safety impact,"he said.

The Facebook page would also link to existing organisations and community partners with similar strategic goals as police.

The site would be monitored and moderated at all times by a team of seven police staff, with oversight from district communications manager Vivien Puller.

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- The Southland Times

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