An online petition is aiming to end Lethbridge Police Service’s ‘Wanted Wednesdays’ Facebook posts. The posts which share the names, pictures, and information about the alleged offences and previous convictions of suspects are aimed to make the public aware that the suspect is at large. It also helps police to obtain information from the community on their whereabouts. The petition criticises the posts and says:
“The practice bypasses the presumption of innocence and defines people entirely in terms of their alleged offence. It also promotes ill-informed racist and sexist comments on a public forum, and does nothing at all to promote useful dialogue.”
Lethbridge Police Service responded in a statement:
“While there are no immediate plans to discontinue publicly sharing information surrounding those individuals wanted on warrants of arrest, LPS will be reviewing its use of this tool, along with its short and long-term communications strategies, as part of its action plan to better serve the community.”
“The information on charged persons is part of the public domain and is accessible to all through the courts.” the statement added.
So far this year, the Lethbridge Police Service Facebook page has published nine Wanted Wednesday posts. Three of the suspects are female, seven are under the age of 30, and four appear to be visible minorities.
The petition received over 300 signatures as of Monday afternoon. The person who posted the petition could not be reached for comment.