Po­lice un­friend Face­book page

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - RHYS CHAM­BER­LAIN

‘‘Sadly it will prob­a­bly never be as suc­cess­ful un­less it's strictly 'lo­cal' to each area. Who takes as much no­tice of wanted petty crim­i­nals out­side their im­me­di­ate neigh­bour­hood?’’

Po­lice say an in­ci­dent where a woman was falsely im­pli­cated in a crime did not con­trib­ute to a shut down of the Queen­stown Po­lice Face­book page.

The page is be­ing merged into a South­ern District po­lice page.

Po­lice head of brand and en­gage­ment James Whi­taker said the shoplift­ing sug­ges­tion ’’didn’t con­trib­ute to the de­ci­sion’’.

‘‘This de­ci­sion is a part of a change across all po­lice dis­tricts,’’ he said.

In June, Queen­stown mother Ginny Mitchell fea­tured in a video posted on the page that in­cluded a man grab­bing eight jack­ets from a lo­cal store. She was noted as a pos­si­ble ac­com­plice.

The im­pli­ca­tion was wrong. Po­lice took the post down and apol­o­gised to Mitchell.

Whi­taker said de­spite the demise of the page, Queen­stown and other Otago cen­tres would still re­ceive in­for­ma­tion about in­ci­dents in the area and it would not be less help­ful.

Asked if it was cost-sav­ing mea­sure, Whi­taker said it wasn’t.

‘‘It’s about im­prov­ing com­mu­nity en­gage­ment.’’

Staff in Welling­ton and Dunedin would run the page, he said.

The Queen­stown, Wanaka, Dunedin and South­land pages would all be merged.

The same would hap­pen in other po­lice dis­tricts around the coun­try, Whi­taker said.

Peo­ple ex­pressed their dis­ap­point­ment on the Queen­stown Po­lice Face­book page.

Brid­get Cameron said: ‘‘Sadly it will prob­a­bly never be as suc­cess­ful un­less it’s strictly ‘lo­cal’ to each area. Who takes as much no­tice of wanted petty crim­i­nals out­side their im­me­di­ate neigh­bour­hood?’’

Vic­to­ria Lund said: ‘‘And there goes the great lo­cal in­tel.’’

The ad­just­ment fol­lows sev­eral changes in po­lice com­mu­ni­ca­tions since a new na­tional me­dia cen­tre opened in Welling­ton in May.

An in­struc­tion to di­rect most queries to the me­dia cen­tre left many re­porters feel­ing im­por­tant pub­lic in­for­ma­tion was be­ing fil­tered.

The Cen­tral Otago Year 8 bas­ket­ball team, which won the South Is­land tour­na­ment (de­vel­op­ment grade) in Oa­maru on July 17.

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