Residents are being urged to make sure potential crimes and suspicious activity are reported to police, rather than just posted about on community social media pages.
Northamptonshire Police is issuing the reminder after a number of incidents where officers have found community concerns, suspicious behaviour or allegations of criminal activity have been shared on Facebook and other sites without a report being made to the Force.
Crime prevention officer Kate Bailey said: “Recently we’ve had a few cases where we’ve identified a community concern or allegation of criminal activity and have found that it has been posted about on neighbourhood Facebook pages without having been reported to us.
“Community social media pages are a great place to share information and make people aware of potential issues, but we really need people to also make a report to police wherever necessary.
“If you think something is worth a warning post online, then it’s worth telling us about it as well. You won’t be wasting our time, and we can only act where we know there’s an issue.”
Residents are also urged to avoid posting images or video from doorbell or CCTV cameras online after a crime, to avoid the possibility of compromising a criminal prosecution.
Kate said: “Although it’s natural to want to provide information to help or warn others, it’s really important to avoid sharing anything that could go on to form part of the evidence shown in court, as this could mean it cannot be used, which can weaken the chances of a conviction.”
She added: “Information from our communities is a vital tool in helping us understand what is happening, where and when, so we can make sure we have officers where they need to be to prevent and detect crime.
“We would always prefer to receive a well-meaning report that comes to nothing, than not be told about something which is causing community concern or could prove to be a vital piece of information or evidence.”
Make non-emergency reports by calling 101 or go online at a convenient time at www.northants.police.uk/RO. In an emergency, always call 999.
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