Calls for a greater police presence on social networks to fight disinformation

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Police should be more active on social media to help prevent the spread of disinformation, a crime chief said.

Marc Jones, president of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC), said police have “a duty to make people feel safe and secure”, warning that “fear of crime is much higher than the reality “. And it’s just as debilitating ”.

Mr Jones, who is the Conservative Commissioner for Police and Crime for Lincolnshire, told reporters at a briefing that he would like officers to have more of a social media presence to help correct the ‘myths’ and reassure the public more about what was being done. to fight crime in neighborhoods.

He said: “We need to use social media, especially Facebook and Nextdoor, more than Twitter I would suggest to actually prevent the spread of disinformation.”

He later added, “We need to be in these spaces to help the community understand the level of risk, understand what the police are doing to mitigate those risks so that the community feels genuinely engaged, and I think the fear of the Crime is often unnecessarily driven into this space, and the police need to be in this space as well to make it reality, as well as to actually fight crime.

“And I think that would be the point that I would make clear is that we have to embrace this a lot more.

“It’s not about taking the police off the streets and doing it instead. But the virtual street is as real as the physical street, and we have to recognize that and it’s not going to go away. “

He urged the police to act and said: “Because if they don’t, the fear of crime is much higher than the reality. And it’s just as crippling, because if my mother, who is 83 years old, doesn’t dare to leave her home to go to the village store, doesn’t take the bus to go downtown to do her shopping because she is afraid, you have greatly affected her quality of life.

“She was no less safe doing it tomorrow than she was last week. But if she feels it, that changed everything and I think the police have a duty to make people feel safe, in addition to being safe.

“And I think it’s slightly larger than just font, but I think it’s important and we have to accept that people are connected in a way that they’ve never been before.”

He added: “They should be there to reassure the public in all honesty about what is really going on.”

Mr Jones pointed to dognapping as an example of how fear of crime can have an effect.

He said: “We have had a huge increase in fear of crime around dog theft, but we know relatively well that this is a small number of crimes, but I understand the fear that creates in owners. of dogs. “

Last month, a report by a government task force, which was set up after an increase in pet thefts during the coronavirus pandemic and under pressure from lawmakers to impose tougher penalties, revealed that seven in ten animal thefts recorded by police involved dogs, with evidence suggesting around 2,000 dog thefts were reported to police in 2020.

Although the risk of such theft is considered low, in the context of an estimated British dog population of 10.1 million, the emotional impact of the theft of a pet is ‘undeniable’, according to the report. .


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