News / South Africa / Local News

Anna Robertson
1 minute read
1 Mar 2017
11:40 am

Think twice before posting suspects’ photos online, police warn

Anna Robertson

Posting photographs of suspects online could lead to a SAPS identity parade not being conclusive.

The Cluster Police Trio Task Team apprehend five armed suspects for house robbery in Orange Farm. Picture: Lazarus Dithagiso.

Springs police have raised concerns about photos or videos of suspects posted on social media platforms, reports the Springs Advertiser.

SAPS spokesperson Captain Johannes Ramphora said 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 said.

Ramphora said pictures or videos posted of suspects were illegal as the suspects were innocent in the eyes of the law.

“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 said.

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.

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.

Caxton News Service

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