Careful, the police are watching everyone, even their own

Aussie Police watching protesters

Recently I had the AM Show?on in the background and I heard Duncan Garner make an interesting comment on his regular piece known as “Five things you didn’t need to know.”

Number three was a wee item on a poor chap somewhere who had created a BBQ from an old gas bottle. Apparently, it looked a bit like a bomb. The cops had seen a Facebook post from him and gone to his house to seize the offending sausage burner in case it was a weapon of mass destruction or something.

All had ended well, and after being pored over by the feds to make sure it wasn’t capable of being used to take out the local Country Women’s League or Peace Action group (the later being about as effective at stopping fascists as the former), the BBQ was returned to its rightful owner in time for his weekend of burnt meat and beer-based fun.

It was a comment made at the end of that segment that caught my attention. Duncan flippantly mentioned: Quote.

Be careful what you put online. It?s an advertisement to the police on what you?re up to. End quote.

Duncan Garner. Comment made, 0744am 19 July 2018

Although it was perhaps an offhand remark by Mr Garner, he is right on the money.

Everything that is put online has the ability to be seen by others, and the police are not shy about using Facebook as a medium for gathering information, just as the fools at a newspaper were all to happy to pore through the Facebook account of a?NZ-born Israeli fallen soldier a while back. (Only to actually put up photos of a dead Jackass star!)

A newspaper mistakenly used a picture of the late Ryan Dunn on its front cover. Source: 1 NEWS

Police in New Zealand regularly use social media profiles in order to gain information on persons of interest. Often tip-offs come from members of the public, such as the video of a motorcyclist doing a wheelie over the Auckland Harbour Bridge. Police used the footage to form the basis of a prosecution of a Rotorua man for dangerous driving.

What is less known is that the New Zealand Police even troll social media posts for information about what their own staff are up to.

I know of one occasion where a police member was stood down from all duties for more than two weeks after he made a tongue-in-cheek comment on a police-oriented Facebook page. He was dragged into his supervisor’s office the very next day, stood down, forced to see a police psychologist to confirm that he was just being a smartarse and not actually a danger to himself, and then, to put the knife in a little deeper, advised that he would have to take the forced time off as sick leave! (He ‘politely’ declined that suggestion.)

So it was interesting when, a couple of weeks ago, discussion blew up on a Ministry of Transport-chat site on Facebook that I am a member of.

It seems that a senior member of the New Zealand Police road policing staff had attempted to join the group using a false name.

Now cops, due to their occupation, tend to be a naturally suspicious bunch. You can imagine how the rank-and-file members of the Ministry of Transport page took to the news that one of the big bosses, who was never in the Ministry of Transport, had been trolling their page.

The page is regularly used to vent about the way things are going with current road policing. Naturally, many of the members’ comments are not complimentary towards current practice, what with most of them being old timers from back in the day when there was pride in the job. Some, however, are currently serving officers.

There was a definite feeling amongst commenters that the only reason for the spaghetti heads to be looking on that site was to look for dissension amongst the ranks.

Now to be fair, maybe the boss involved is just a bit of a muppet (actually that’s the general consensus among staff), as he did put his correct ID number down even though he had used a fake account name. By way of explanation, he advised that he was just trying to be “one of the boys”. (He’ll probably get a caning for that for not being gender inclusive!)

Lots of cops have social media accounts with fake names for obvious reasons ? haters are gonna hate. But, when the first response from the plebs is that the bosses are trolling the page to gather info against them, you’ve got to think that there is a good reason for that.

Perhaps the New Zealand Police are just scanning the sites their staff frequent to try and pick up ideas on how to actually do the job properly. But really, all they need to do is ask Genter?? she knows everything apparently.

Hopefully, those current and ex-staff who have seen what actually works will continue to keep offering up sage advice for their trolling masters to find. Because, you know, it never hurts to help.

Maybe they will just need to use a fake account name so they don’t get reprimanded.

It never hurts to help!