Police to investigate offensive social media posts

Social media users in Vanuatu have been asked to show respect while commenting or posting on social media.

Vanuatu’s Acting Police Service Commissioner, Colonel Robson Iavro, is appealing via social media for the public to show respect to the police following what he said had been people “swearing at police officers on social media.”

He says the public must allow the police to do its job in dealing with the Big Bay Bush case.

“The police will make appropriate inquiries, will investigate social media posts and will deal with any person who swears at police men and women on social media,” he said.

“It is very shameful and very sad to see citizens swearing at police officers and their families.

“I am appealing to the citizens of Vanuatu to continue to support the police in carrying out their duties.”

Meanwhile Gerard Metsan, the Government’s Chief Information Officer, says, they have a Memorandum of Understanding with the Vanuatu Police Force. The Memorandum of Understanding allows both institutions to work together in dealing with issues on social media.

“The police have the authority to deal with any offences on social media. They can prosecute anyone who offended another person on social media, if they received reports.

“We only work with them to track down the offenders but they are the ones with the authority to prosecute anyone caught doing an offence on social media,” he said.

He says there have been cases in Vanuatu where police have prosecuted offenders.

He says but they are facing many challenges dealing with social media offences.

“We have been deleting many fake accounts on social media. If we delete one account now, in less than one hour, the same account is recreated and reloaded with all the same posts that we have deleted. Therefore, it is very difficult to deal with these issues.”

Mr Metsan says the solution here is Vanuatu need to pass the Bill for Cyber Crime Act. An Act to provide for computer offences and other related matters.

The bill was taken to parliament in 2018 but hasn’t been passed.

He says but now people can report offences to the police and the police will work with the Office of the Government Chief Information to track down the offenders so that they can be prosecuted.

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