NSW Police have abused their power and in effect directed Facebook to take down a support page for police, former police and their families who are dealing with mental health problems such as stress, depression and to help with suicide prevention. Posts on the page were broad and allowed people with mental health issues to reach out for support while other posts gave families and friends the opportunity to pay tribute to deceased officers.
It seems the only reason that the Facebook page (The Forgotten 300) was taken down is that a few posts criticized some serving officers and other posts were critical of the lack of support within the police force for officers and former officers suffering mental health issues.
The police have admitted that they had Facebook take down the page (18th March 2016) yet there was no allegation that any crime had been committed or anyone had been defamed. There was no legal basis given to have the page taken down so one has to assume there is none.
The NSW police say they did not like the fact that a number of serving officers were criticised on the page:
“With regards to the Forgotten 300 Facebook page, I can confirm that the NSW Police Force did contact Facebook regarding concerns over numerous posts considered offensive and detrimental to the wellbeing of particular serving officers.”
“My understanding is that Facebook independently reviewed those posts and has taken action in accordance with their own terms and conditions.”
“The NSW Police Force respects the privacy and wellbeing of all its employees. If content appears on social media channels that is offensive and causing distress to current officers, we have an obligation and responsibility to ensure these officer’s wellbeing and will act to provide advice and support.”
They say “posts considered offensive and detrimental to the wellbeing of particular serving officers”. Where is the evidence supporting that statement? And where is the concern, when the page was deleted, for the stress and duress suffered by people who used the Ther Forgotten 300 page for support?
You can’t close down the internet
The Forgotten 300 Facebook page had over 54,000 followers and was started in 2012 when the NSW state government capped compensation claims for injured police. The 300 related to the number of officers that were short-changed the compensation they would have been previously entitled to. The page was started by the wife of a former police officer.
In 2013 the administration of the page was handed to former police officer Berrick Boland. The Forgotten 300 page was deleted by Facebook on the 18th March 2016 and while it did get some media coverage (Click here to read) it should have been a lot more.
Berrick Boland has not sat idle since the page was taken down and another page has been set up called The Forgotten 000’s which has been broadened to cover all emergency services people such as Firefighters and Ambulance Paramedics etc. Mr Boland has also set up a website https://theforgotten000s.com which is still under construction awaiting a first post but will be up and running soon.
I interviewed Berrick Boland on Tuesday the 19th April 2016 in the below video.
(Click anywhere on the above video to watch)
Police caught using Facebook to troll and harass an MP with racist and sexist posts
What makes it worse for the NSW police is that they have been shown to be major hypocrites as a number of serving officers were caught on the 10th of April 2016 using facebook to harass a NSW state politician.
“Serving officers in the NSW Police Force have been caught trolling and harassing an MP with a slew of racist and sexist posts on social media.”
“Police personnel at Sydney City Local Area Command, Kings Cross, Bankstown, Cabramatta – and even within senior management – have been implicated in an extraordinary attack on the Greens member for Newtown, Jenny Leong. The MP has been devastated by a string of Facebook posts that mocked her ethnic background and referred to her father as a “swamp monkey”.” (Click here to read more)
The Police are now under investigation by the Police Integrity Commission (PIC) which has oversight for the Police.
“The PIC confirmed on Thursday that its inquiry, Operation Colchester, would probe allegations of “police misconduct” that arose after March 18″ (Click here to read more) One officer has already been suspended.
It is interesting that the date March 18th in the same day Facebook took down The Forgotten 300 page so you would have thought the police would have been vigilant from then on in not abusing people themselves on Facebook.
What the police have allegedly said on Facebook about MP Jenny Ledong seems a lot worse than anything the Police have alleged was said on The Forgotten 300 about the police. I think the Police Integrity Commission should also investigate the circumstances behind Facebook deleting The Forgotten 300 page.
The government agencies that try and close down Facebook pages and other social media for frivolous and vexatious reasons are doing nothing more than embarrassing themselves and need to change their strategy and accommodate the new media. They need to face up to the fact that the Internet Truth Train is coming and you cannot stop it.
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