Facebook page goes too far: Police

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 detection.

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 said.

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

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