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Police in town 'blighted by paramilitary feuds' hit out at online sharing of checkpoint locations

The warning was in response to social media groups in which people post traffic updates to other road users.

File photo of a police checkpoint
File photo of a police checkpoint
Image: PA Archive/PA Images

THE POLICE SERVICE in Armagh have issued a warning to groups and people who share the locations of checkpoints.

PSNI Craigavon posted on its Facebook page about the importance of police checkpoints on the roads and the damage that can be done by alerting people ahead to them ahead of time on social media.

The post was in response to social media groups in which people post traffic updates to other road users.

“A check point? Heading into a town blighted recent by paramilitary drug gang feuds and murders? Darned peelers trying to disrupt and prevent any further bloodshed!” the post reads.

“Quick! I must tell everyone! Hopefully then if any of the drug gangs are moving weaponry around they’ll notice my warning and avoid those pesky peelers!

Folks, if you really feel the need to plaster our position on tinterweb, please stop for a second and consider why we are where we are.

It goes on to say the police somewhat understand people sharing the position of speed vans.

“It’s only role is to keep speeds down and it’s only going to catch speeders. So if people know, slow down, then it’s job done,” it reads.

“Checkpoints however catch all manner of criminals. Last one I was at we caught a drink driver.

A couple of other lads in section caught a guy who’d just nicked a TV. The owners hadn’t even noticed yet! Last year we caught a disqualified, uninsured, drink driver. In the not too distant past our colleagues have found guns, ammunition and explosives at checkpoints. The list goes on.

The PSNI said that admins of Facebook traffic monitoring groups – by not deleting the offending posts – were “condoning and supporting what they’re doing”.

“Policing works best when we work together. Several operations recently, including on our page, are testament to that.

This does not help though. It’s counterproductive, it’s dangerous, and it puts communities at risk.

Call out people who are doing it. Hold them to account. Quite often there’s probably no intent behind it, it’s just people not thinking. Let’s change that.

Read: ‘Devastating news’: Four-year-old boy dies following incident on farm

Read: Two chemist staff stabbed during an attempted robbery in west Belfast

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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