20 Jun 2012

Civil liberties group worried by most wanted website

1:59 pm on 20 June 2012

A civil liberties group is worried a new police website that displays images and details of wanted persons could smear the reputations of innocent people.

Officers in Wellington and Eastern Districts are the first to use the site, which at present features 31 wanted people.

Individuals posted on the website are either wanted on criminal charges or need to be identified as a suspect or witness to a crime.

Council for Civil Liberties spokesperson Batch Hales says people will automatically assume that those pictured on the website are guilty, which may not be the case.

It says police are naming and shaming people before they've had a chance to go to court.

But police say they're simply trying to protect the community, and the website does not create the impression that all those listed there are guilty.

They say images will only be published if there is an urgent need to find the person in question.