A Wagga mother who openly named and shamed a convicted child molester on her social media page was sternly asked by police to remove the post.
Despite the woman’s good intentions to warn the community of the dangers she believed the man living in Turvey Park posed, police asked her to remove the post soon after it was published on her Facebook page.
The event raises questions of whether the public should openly name people on the sex offenders registry, or whether it should remain a matter for the police.
Wagga police’s crime manager Darren Cloake said there could be severe consequences for the public becoming involved in police matters relating to convicted pedophiles.
“It's not the domain for the public and if they have an issue regarding someone in their area, social media isn't the forum to name them,” he said.
"If people wish to name and shame these people then they do so at their own peril, because if they get it wrong and someone’s innocent, there’ll be consequences.”
Detective Sergeant Brent Fletcher, who had “stern words” with the woman regarding her social media post, said putting messages such as this into the public domain created unnecessary fear and mistrust.
"It creates hysteria, it really does,” he said. “The more it gets talked about the more paranoid people become, but I'm satisfied the measures the police have in place to monitor those convicted of child sex offences are effective and enable us to keep fairly tight controls."
Mr Cloake agreed, saying there were specific methods used for dealing with convicted pedophiles which the public should respect.
"The child protection act is set up to actively monitor and track these offenders and the community should take comfort in the fact that we do visit these offenders and monitor their access to children,” he said.
“Some of these people are living lives where they do still have access to children, but this contact is disclosed to police and their relationship is transparent to the authorities.”
Though the public may feel they are doing the right thing in warning those in the community about convicted pedophiles, Mr Cloake said people should always contact police if they have concerns.
“If people do have information about suspected activity then they should bring it to our attention, not post it on social media,” he said.
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