West Coast police say a Facebook page launched a year ago to
alert people to the whereabouts of road checkpoints has
overstepped the mark.
The page highlights the location of checkpoints and speed
cameras, and is augmented with police gossip. It currently
has 1503 'likes'.
Initially, West Coast police area commander Inspector John
Canning was relaxed about it because he saw it more as
helping to get people to slow down, rather than avoid
However, he said today some of the postings that were being
made on the page included hate messages toward police and
unverified information obtained from scanners.
"While it is not illegal to have a police scanner, it is
illegal to use the information heard on it in a public arena
- and that it what is happening on this page," Mr Canning
The administrator of the Facebook page, Jackie Galland,
posted a message today saying the police wanted to shut it
down and asked for support; that attracted 200 'likes'.
However, Mr Canning said he met Ms Galland yesterday and had
asked for it to be toned down, not closed down.
"We had an in-depth discussion and I'm disappointed with the
outcome," he said.
"We have no problems with the page stating where checkpoints
are and asking people to slow down - that's what we want -
but when it's used as a personal hate page against police and
to air what has been heard on the police scanner, it becomes
an issue for us.
"Some things could be posted on the page, perhaps, before all
of the facts are known, and this is where the problems begin.
"If the page was just being used to advise people of where
police have set up speed cameras there would not be a
problem," Mr Canning said.
- By Viv Logie of the Greymouth Star