New Zealand Police Use Facebook To Quell Future Riots

New Zealand police are setting their sights on stopping parties-turned-riots by monitoring Public Event pages.

New Zealand police are experienced social network sleuths. For about two years now, various NZ police stations have been uploading CCTV footage, mugshots, and security still shots to their fan pages and asking fans to identify suspects. The popular Queenstown police page, for example, made its “first Facebook arrest” back in January 2009. The station’s Facebook page reliably nets one or two arrests each month using these methods, to this day. Not bad at all.

NZ police presence on Facebook is expanding into new arenas. After a recent beach party-turned-riot at Castor Bay, on Auckland’s North Shore, the resident police force’s inadequate and tardy response drew criticism from locals who said the party was well-advertised on Facebook. They broke it up, but only after it had ballooned to over a hundred firework-tossing kids (and adults bearing booze). Residents say they should have known about the Facebook event page, arrived earlier before it got out of hand, and prevented the youths from “running amok” – which, as everyone knows, is only a short step away from “raising Cain.” The North Shore police have vowed to monitor any upcoming Facebook party announcements, noting that social networking sites apparently act as a “common medium” for coordinating gatherings.