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It all comes out in the wash on Facebook

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Do you 'like' your local police?

Victoria Police is taking its Facebook page concept 'Eyewatch' to communities state-wide. If you decide to 'like' them, prepare for photofits and police band pictures galore.

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Caught on camera in the dead of night, with an item of washing draped over his head, the man managed to look both menacing and ridiculous.

The resident of a Northcote property had noticed items of laundry going missing from the washing line late at night and had managed to take a photo of the alleged culprit. And now the picture was on a police Facebook page with a plea for public help to identify the man.

''Aren't they called snowdroppers? People who snatch your undies for kicks. They can have my old granny pants … '' one Facebook user posted under the picture.

November 4, 2012, Northcote.

November 4, 2012, Northcote.

In the 14 months since the six police ''Eyewatch'' pages were set up - for the public transport unit and Darebin, Geelong, Brimbank, Yarra Ranges and Hobsons Bay areas - more than 8000 Facebook users have ''liked'' them, and several crimes have been solved by people who have browsed photos or read police alerts.

''We saw the benefits of sharing information with the community,'' Inspector Tony Langdon, from the Safer Communities unit, said.

''We realised that we have to try different methods to engage with the community, getting more benefit out of it to identify suspects in crimes, providing good messages to people about how they can keep safe in their homes and on the street.''

Wanted offender taken from police 'eyewatch' facebook pages. Click for more photos

Police 'eyewatch' facebook

Police are now using new methods to track wanted offenders by listing them on their 'eyewatch' facebook pages. 

Among the crimes solved are an ''indecent act'' on the Lilydale train line, criminal damage on the Frankston line, another incident of criminal damage in a Northcote bank, an assault in Altona and hoon driving in the Yarra Ranges.

Another tip on the Yarra Ranges page last year led Fairfax to a Facebook page where people were selling illegal weapons including tasers, pistols, swords and pit bulls.

Now the Eyewatch trial is being expanded to another 11 police service areas across Victoria, as senior police and Police Minister Kim Wells will announce on Wednesday.

While police have the power to remove any abusive or legally problematic posts, they have become used to banter with regular posters on the pages.

The Yarra Ranges page, in particular, is always good for some spirited debate about police priorities.

''People can comment on our pages, but they can't post videos and images and they can't set up their own posts on them,'' Inspector Langdon said.

''It is a challenge for some of us to accept that people will have a different opinion to us, but we're quite conscious that a lot of the time the community actually moderates the pages themselves.

''There has been a bit of banter, but I think it's been quite good. It shows us in a more human light and that we can accept some form of criticism as long as it doesn't go past the norm.''

The pages also have quite distinctive personalities, Inspector Langdon says, with people in the Yarra Ranges - which has a combination of a high proportion of elderly residents and relatively quiet and isolated roads - complaining most about hooning.

The Geelong page, covering an area with a high concentration of CCTV cameras, carries a large number of images of people wanted for shoplifting, petrol drive-offs and other types of theft.

''I'll be interested to see what happens with Frankston, because Frankston has a lot of CCTV as well,'' Inspector Langdon said.

The new Eyewatch pages will cover the Bendigo, Boroondara, Casey, Frankston, Hume, Latrobe, Maribyrnong, Melbourne West, Mildura, Stonnington and Wyndham police service areas.

20 comments

  • ..with this technology in place, its almost time to push the button and lock it all down. Big Brother is not just a TV show, but a way of life in the highest taxed country on earth, Australia.
    Learning from the Boston bombings, this surveillance has proved useless. With one of the accused, executed without trial, the other, to die soon and the victims, without limbs. Miraculously, the cameras and footage will restore it as it was. Beyond insanity.

    Commenter
    einstein
    Location
    Qantas Club Lounge, Quatar
    Date and time
    April 24, 2013, 9:41AM
    • einstein - you couldn't be more wrong. It's the existence of CCTV cameras which have assisted greatly in the identification and apprehension of the two (alleged) Boston terrorists. Cameras such as these have also been incredibly important in catching the killer of Jill Meagher.

      Surveillance has proved useless? You haven't got a clue.

      Commenter
      Dave
      Location
      St Kilda
      Date and time
      April 24, 2013, 10:06AM
    • Highest taxed country on earth? Site examples. Are you talking income tax? Have you ever looked at the actualy stats??? Australia isn't even close to being highest tax out of any catergory.
      Dzhokhar is said to be in a "fair" condition now.
      Big Brother was actually a book called 1984 before it was a TV show.
      It's also spelt Qatar, not Quatar.

      Commenter
      A
      Location
      Melb
      Date and time
      April 24, 2013, 10:08AM
    • You have got to be kidding! The surveillance footage helps authorities apprehend these people. Case in point Jill Meagher. If they help prevent crime is hard to quantify. A deterrent? Yes, however in apprehension and collecting of evidence to bring criminals to justice they are incredibly valuable, especially hearing cases from police officers who find it wonderful there have caught a suspect on camera.

      'Execution'? Hardly, it was a gun fight (with hard grenades apparently), you expect police officers not to fire back, when being fired at?

      Stop being so suspicious of 'Big Brother' and Government 'taxation'. We live in the best country in the world, all the best countries who have the highest living standards in the OECD rankings have the highest tax. We should forcing governments to spend taxation correctly and feasibly to eliminate waste.

      It frustrates me when opinions like yours are throw into public forum, that adds baseless and unfounded accusations and opinions.

      Commenter
      Francis
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      April 24, 2013, 10:09AM
    • Check your facts about 'highest taxed country on earth' , although some of the deductions are not called 'tax' in other countries, they are still missing in your pay. Australian tax includes a lot of items which are separate deductions elsewhere!.
      We should be paying more tax as it is, because we want more and more services but do not want to pay!

      Commenter
      diet1940
      Date and time
      April 24, 2013, 10:17AM
    • I love an informed and well balanced argument, I also get a good laugh from conspiracy theories, so I do thank you for your contribution on this fine day.

      BTW you stole the U out of Queensland and obviously took it to Qatar

      Commenter
      Peter
      Location
      Qeensland
      Date and time
      April 24, 2013, 10:18AM
    • It's a fantastic system - The guy in the photo looks like me! I've just had 3 people ask me whether I was in Northcote lately....

      Commenter
      JTHooker
      Location
      Melbs
      Date and time
      April 24, 2013, 10:38AM
    • I've enjoyed the responses to *cough* einstein.

      Highest taxed country ha ha. Someone wasn't alive and paying tax in the seventies and eighties. Wholesale sales tax of 30% on loo paper and the like, 20% on many foods. Higher income tax rates. Bank taxes on debits AND credits.

      Commenter
      bornagirl
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      April 24, 2013, 10:45AM
    • @A, while I agree with your general points, it's "Cite" not "Site", in this instance, and "category", not "catergory".

      Commenter
      Bah, humbug
      Location
      Faculty of English
      Date and time
      April 24, 2013, 10:47AM
    • Dear Einstein - without those CCTVs, we might still be guessing what actually happened that day.

      Commenter
      LPLP
      Date and time
      April 24, 2013, 12:55PM

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