People who abuse social media platforms to create panic and fear by circulating false information have been warned to desist from the act or face the law.
The Director General of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Mrs Maame Yaa Tiwaa Addo-Danquah, who issued the warning, said some of the false information circulated included videos of motor accidents, criminal attacks and explosions.
At the 2017 get-together for personnel of the CID Headquarters, popularly known as the West African Security Services Activities (WASSA), in Accra last Friday, she said; "Some of the audio-visuals might be several years old and sometimes the incident might have occurred in other countries, yet they are presented as recent situations in Ghana".
As part of measures to bring such perpetrators to book, she said, the Cyber Crime Unit of the CID was working around the clock to arrest and prosecute such offenders.
Additionally, she said, the unit would soon have a digital forensic laboratory with the appropriate tools to monitor, analyse and investigate online portals for indecent images and other inappropriate content that had the tendency to negatively affect the security of the country.
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In recent times, there has been a steady rise in the use of social media for various reasons in Ghana.
While the development had enhanced communication and the dissemination of information, she said, the CID had observed that some criminals and criminal syndicates were taking advantage of the social media space to perpetrate their criminal activities.
"They prey on unsuspecting persons and defraud them of huge sums of money and other belongings," Mrs Addo -Danquah said.
She urged the public to be alert and cautious, especially when unknown people contacted them through the various social media platforms or the Internet.
In 2017, the Anti Human Trafficking Unit of the CID reviewed its strategy to change Ghana's bad ranking on the USA Trafficking in Persons watch list.
The unit, Mrs Addo-Danquah said, revised its operational strategies and intensified activities to prevent, arrest and investigate human trafficking cases.
It also collaborated with the Marine Police, the International Justice Mission and the Department of Social Welfare in its bid to win the fight against child trafficking.
By the end of 2017, it had rescued 339 victims, comprising 217 males and 122 females.
Out of the number, 149 were adults, while 190 were children, with 327 of them being Ghanaians and 12 foreigners.
The Anti-Armed Robbery Unit of the CID also busted a major car snatching syndicate during the year under review.
The unit was able to retrieve 29 vehicles which had been snatched from their owners in Accra and Tema and conveyed to Tamale for sale.
Although some of the owners of the retrieved vehicles had come forward, others were yet to approach the police.
Mrs Addo-Danquah, therefore, appealed to people whose vehicles had been snatched to contact the Public Affairs Directorate of the Ghana Police Service to assist with investigations and prosecution of the suspected car snatchers.
Minister of Justice
In a keynote address, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Ms Gloria Afua Akuffo, said a strong CID was the surest way to detect and prevent crime, as well as maintain peace and security.
The WASSA is an annual get-together for security service personnel to take stock of the past year, strategise for the year ahead and make merry.