ST HELENA POLICE EDUCATION AND AWARENESS PROGRAMME
St Helena Police are currently conducting an education and awareness programme for the local community. Each week a different topic will be aired on local radio stations, issued via information releases and posted on Social Media.
This week’s topic is Police Appeals:
Many of you will have seen, read or heard an appeal from Police asking the public for information. This may have been on the radio, in the newspaper or perhaps online.
But what are Police Appeals and why do we issue them?
The purpose of an Appeal to the general public is to ask for information that may assist us in our investigation. Appeals will usually contain the brief circumstances of the incident and ask whether anyone has seen or heard anything.
There will be times when a person has reported a crime to Police, where there will be little information to go on or enquiries to carry out.
For example, if someone was to report that their garden tool had been stolen from their yard sometime during the night but had no further information, there would only be a limited amount of enquiries we could carry out based on this.
All investigations commence in the same way which includes creating an investigation plan to identify what we consider are ‘Reasonable Lines of Enquiries’. This usually includes speaking with the victim, identifying witnesses, conducting house-to-house and where appropriate considering forensic opportunities.
Appeals form a vital part of that plan, especially early on when it becomes clear that we’re unlikely to identify the person responsible without the support of the community. This is when the Appeal gets released, requesting for people to come forward if they have any information. There may be times when people are in possession of information relating to the commission of offences, however they are reluctant to share this with the Police. Examples of comments made have been ‘I don’t want to get involved’ or ‘that’s not my business’.
This is understandable and we recognise that some are concerned of the repercussions of speaking out against someone who may be a friend or a family member or a well-known person in the community. However, we can assure you that any information provided to Police is treated in the strictest of confidence.
What is disappointing is that when crimes aren’t solved we receive comments such as ‘why does that person always get away with everything’. You can prevent this. Providing information to Police helps us to do our absolute utmost to bring offenders to justice in order to support any victim of crime.
Giving the Police any information, regardless of how minor it may seem, could be the vital clue that we are looking for or could lead us to solve a crime. We all know that at any time we could be victims of crime but if we support and help each other crime could be reduced.
In 1829 Sir Robert Peel formed the beginning of the modern day police service and identified nine principles which are still valid nearly 200 years later. Principle 7, highlights the special role that both the Police and public have in working together to fight crime:
“Maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.”
Therefore we encourage anyone who has information about any crime or Appeal to respond by sharing with the Police what they know.
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26 October 2021