Police call wanted woman 'fat', refer to her as 'him', on Facebook
Auckland police called a wanted woman "fat" and referred to her with a male pronoun on Facebook.
When social media users commented that "fat" was "a bit harsh" and ridiculed the woman to their friends, the post was edited to say "solid build".
The incident follows criticism of police Facebook use as modern-day "freak shows" where offenders are held up for ridicule by the public. A police spokesperson previously said all New Zealand police Facebook pages had a moderation filter that automatically hides comments containing "profanities and inappropriate language".
It also came hot on the heels of a police tweet that compared road crash deaths to a bad day at The Office.
Auckland's Waitemata Police often post asking the public to be vigilant and keep an eye out for wanted people. Among the five they posted in the last week was 22-year-old Tupou Schick, wanted for breaching bail and with ties to the Birkdale area.
Schick was initially described as a "female Pacific Islander, 170cm tall, fat build".
This was later changed to "solid build" after commenters said it was "harsh" and began linking friends into the post to show them the faux pas.
A police spokesperson told Stuff the word "overweight" should have been used instead of fat.
"We will ensure that this is done on any future posts," they said.
Two other people were also wanted but all three have since been located and the posts calling for help have been deleted.
Calls for help finding Darren Shepherd, 41, who failed to appear in court, and Christopher Galloway, 32, for breaching bail conditions, haven't been successful as yet. A spokesperson confirmed they were both still outstanding.
Both have warrants for their arrest. Galloway was described as having "strong links to the Glenfield area" and with a tattoo of a skull with tusks on his left forearm while Shepherd was about 190 centimetres tall, medium build, with links to Beach Haven.
The spokesperson said people breaching their bail does occur on a regular basis.
"Police investigate all breaches of bail and if there is sufficient evidence they will be put before the courts," they said.
"Not all offenders are put on Facebook, this is considered on a case-by-case basis and is generally only done once other lines of enquiry have been followed."
They said, when offenders were placed on Facebook police try provide as much of a description as possible.
"We have really good results from using Facebook to help us identify offenders and to locate them. That is because members of the public are eager to assist police to help keep our communities safe."
Police were asking anyone who knew where Galloway or Shepherd were to call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or contact police through Facebook.