Think twice before posting suspects’ photos on social media, Springs police warns

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SAPS spokesman Capt Johannes Ramphora says the risk associated with this is that it may have a negative impact on judicial procedures.

“It is an invasion of their privacy even though they are a suspect in a crime,” he says.

Ramphora says pictures or videos posted of suspects are illegal as the suspects are innocent in the eyes of the law.

Read: Be careful – defamation on social media can cost you

“It may damage the reputation of the person or people accused and open doors for possible legal action taken against the person who posted the picture or video,” he says.

While images posted may be used to combat crime, the opposite may occur as a result.

These are some of the repercussions:

• A SAPS identity parade will not be conclusive: It may be argued that the witness or victim saw the suspect’s face on social media and identified the suspect based on the image portrayed rather than physically having seen the suspect commit the crime.

• The suspect may not be charged for the criminal incident.

• Posts may teach individuals how to commit a crime: Ramphora says this results in criminal incidents being committed by individuals who may not have attempted to commit crimes before viewing how it can be successfully done.

• Pictures or videos may alert the suspect and their accomplices that the police are aware of who they are: This may lead to the the suspects fleeing without being caught.

Read: Be Sensitive to Abuse: Learn From These Social Media Epic Fails

Ramphora’s advice is to rather allow the police to do their work, with the community’s assistance, in a proper manner instead of the public jeopardising police investigations.

Anna Robertson

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