Young people warned over explicit selfies

Doug Beattie MC MLA, Inspector Leslie Badger and Cllr Julie Flaherty during their recent meeting. INBL Doug Beattie
Doug Beattie MC MLA, Inspector Leslie Badger and Cllr Julie Flaherty during their recent meeting. INBL Doug Beattie

Young people have been warned against taking explicit ‘selfies’ of themselves and sending them to others.

The warning comes after local MLA Doug Beattie met with the head of the Neighbourhood Policing Unit in the Banbridge, Lurgan and Portadown areas.

 Mr Beattie said: I met with Inspector Leslie Badger the PSNI responsible for Neighbourhood Policing in the Portadown, Lurgan and Banbridge areas.

“Inspector Badger highlighted the issue of young people taking explicit selfies of themselves then either distributing it through social media or retaining it on their phones.

“He explained that distributing explicit images of themselves, is an offence and may well result in the phone being seized or further legal proceedings.

“If as an adult, you receive explicit photos of anyone below the adult age then it can also be deemed as an offense.

“His advice was that if you are under the age of eighteen, refrain from taking explicit images of yourself and if you receive any delete them immediately.

 “But if this sounds like a young person’s issue, Inspector Badger then went on to explain an ongoing trend in the local area. That is for overseas gangs posing as young ladies targeting older middle aged men in an attempt to get them to send compromising photos of themselves on Facebook.

“They would then use the photos to demand money from the individual.

“His advice was firstly not to send compromising photos but if you get caught out get in touch with Facebook immediately and if you feel necessary the PSNI.

Mr Beattie also highlighted a major issue in the area around illegal drugs and legal prescription drugs.

“Although the PSNI in the area continue to conduct disruptive searches for those dealing in drugs there continues to be a major problem,” he said. “This problem is exacerbated by the selling of prescription drugs such as Lyrica also known as Pregabalin.

“The only cautionary note that I took from my meeting with Inspector Badger was the levels of resources he has.

“This includes himself and just two teams of six officers with no resilience or support for any officer who would be off on long term sick due to illness, injury or stress.

“Given the new Executive Action Plan to tackle paramilitary activity and organised crime promotes an increase in community policing without extra funding it is clear that Neighbourhood Policing will not be able to match the aspirations set out. As a whole I am impressed by the policing plans set out but I am in no doubt that the PSNI in the area have many challenges ahead.