Guernsey Police responds to social media criticism of witness appeals

Guernsey police station
Credit: ITV Channel TV

Guernsey Police has responded to social media criticism of how the force uses witness appeals.

It says it follows comments asking things like 'why we didn’t put the appeal out sooner' and 'why does a witness appeal go out well after an incident'.

A statement issued by Bailiwick Law Enforcement says:

"We’ve occasionally seen comments on those appeals suggesting we go and look for CCTV first, or asking why we didn’t put the appeal out sooner, so we wanted to take the opportunity to explain how these appeals only play one part in an investigation."

It went on to add that even when officers have CCTV images of a suspected offender, they will often issue appeals to encourage anyone who saw incidents to come forward.

When the victims of crimes agree for appeals to be issued, they often contain a short description of an incident that happened, and an approximate time and location.

The College of Policing says detailed public appeals are an important way to 'maintain public confidence' in the force, and they should always be 'open, honest, and transparent'.

The statement from Guernsey Police continued:

"The second question we see is 'why does a witness appeal go out well after an incident has occurred? Sometimes, a witness appeal isn’t the most appropriate course of action immediately following a report, especially if there is a strong line of enquiry for officers to pursue.

"Whenever an appeal is put out, we are looking to establish exactly what happened and who was involved, and presenting the best evidence we can. We’re always grateful to people that do come forwards and assist with investigations."