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Social media investigations policy, using platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, voted for by Dover District Council

Plans to use social media to probe crimes have been voted through.

Dover District Council's cabinet yesterday (Monday) unanimously agreed on the adoption a social media investigations policy.

The council will use social media as a crimefighting tool. Stock image
The council will use social media as a crimefighting tool. Stock image

Cllr Nicholas Kenton told the online meeting: "Enforcement is one of those things asked from us as a council.

"People are hot on it and want us to do more.

"We are not trying to catch people out, just investigate people doing illegal activities."

The plan is to use platforms, which include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram, as an "essential investigatory tool" for gathering evidence of potential crimes.

Six managers and officers from the council's environmental crime department will be assigned to do this. They normally deal with fly-tipping, littering and graffiti offences.

A council report said: "Social media can be a very useful tool when investigating alleged offences with a view to bringing a prosecution in the courts or taking other action.

"The use of evidence gathering from various forms of social media can go some way to proving or disproving various information including a statement made by a defendant, or an allegation made by a complainant."

The law allows surveillance of social media for "providing safeguards" against criminal offences.

Social media accounts of defendants would be accessed on council-owned "devices" and logs maintained to explain the need to use them.

It has been recommended that any evidence is captured by officers through screenshots of photos or text on the social media site.

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