Saskatoon police caution against 'unnecessary fear' on social media
Saskatoon police say two inmates considered to be violent have escaped from the federal Regional Psychiatric Centre. (File photo)
CTV News Saskatoon
Published Tuesday, August 13, 2019 5:49PM CST
Last Updated Wednesday, August 14, 2019 9:41PM CST
Saskatoon Police Service is asking people to think before sharing social media posts causing "panic and fear" in the community.
Police took directly to social media Tuesday in a Facebook post cautioning users against hitting the share button too quickly when coming across a post describing an alleged incident.
"In a number of these cases the situation [described] is very alarming. Some portray situations that people have interpreted as abductions, young women being taken hostage, kidnapped,” Staff Sgt. Grant Obst said in an interview with CTV News.
"In some cases, [the posts] directly reference certain neighbourhoods, certain minority groups or certain industries. What’s troubling is that only a few of these posts actually had an accompanying official police report," SPS says in the post.
“If you’re seeing that on Facebook but you are not hearing or seeing that coming from the police, we ask that you be very suspect of it,” Obst said.
The SPS post also goes on to say that in the cases where all police have to go on is the social media post – which is often made with third- or fourth-hand information – significant time and resources go into trying to verify the incident.
"Once these things come to our attention, we can't just write them off," Obst said.
"Detectives are looking at these things, patrol officers are responding to these kind of things, they should be working on things that are actually happening, not things that aren't."
The post also highlights the fact that SPS issues nearly 1,000 news releases per year.
"If that sort of thing were to ever happen in Saskatoon you can bet that there would be a media release issued by police immediately as soon as it came to our attention," Obst said