Crime chief: ‘Checking daughter’s Facebook is responsible of me’

Police Commissioner for North Yorkshire Julia Mulligan. Pictured Julie Mulligan Picture by Gerard Binks.
Police Commissioner for North Yorkshire Julia Mulligan. Pictured Julie Mulligan Picture by Gerard Binks.

Crime tsar Julia Mulligan claims mobile phone app Snapchat is “evil” - and admits she regularly scours her daughter’s Facebook page to see who she’s added as a friend.

The inaugural North Yorkshire crime commissioner claims that checking her eldest daughter’s personal page seems like a “responsible” thing to do.

Her comments came as both Mrs Mulligan and the Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Dave Jones addressed Scarborough residents at the Stephen Joseph Theatre on Wednesday night about their fears and concerns over crime and anti-social behaviour.

Concerns were also aired about social media use among youngsters, and the elected commissioner said: “I go through my eldest daughter’s Facebook friends on a monthly basis, and I go ‘do you know him?’

“I don’t know if it’s the right thing to do but it seems like a responsible thing to do.”

The issue of social media use was raised at the meeting, with Scarborough Superintendent Glyn Payne warning that society has a duty to try and stop youngsters being exposed to some of the darker corners of the web.

“When you look at something like Facebook, where people can see things like executions, that’s what young people are being exposed to,’ said Superintendent Payne.

“We have to break that.”

The issue of controversial content on social media sites has been in the headlines this week after Facebook lifted a ban on graphic execution videos being published.

And Mrs Mulligan said she’d encountered some “shocking” material on the picture sharing app Snapchat, which people often used to send x-rated images or videos to friends, although the images are deleted after a maximum of 10 seconds.

“I saw something on Snapchat that truly, truly shocked me,’ said the commissioner, although she didn’t clarify what the image was.

“(Snapchat) is awful. It’s really, really awful.”

At the meeting, the £70,000 a year commissioner vowed to slash red tape and to pump cash into technology - after admitting previously bought hi-tech crime fighting kit is “going to waste” in police lockers throughout the region.

She said that one of her “biggest passions” was reducing bureaucracy, but admitted equipment bought in the past to help aid police on the beat “was not implemented properly”.

And she said every assistance would be given to make sure officers were kitted up with the best equipment as they walked the beat.

“If a police officer is out on the street and is looking at a device, it’s crucial that the information that they have on that device is bang up to date,” she said.

Officials at the meeting answered questions on a range of subjects, including the Barrowcliff estate, parking and the 101 service.

The non-emergency number was branded a “complete and utter waste of time” by B&B owner Anne Richardson, and while the commissioner admitted that there have been “problems” with the service, she said that for the time being at least, it was here to stay.

And Superintendent Payne announced at the meeting that seven new officers would be joining the force in November.

It follows 14 new starters earlier in the year, and comes after a region-wide recruitment drive by the commissioner in her first year in the role.

And the commissioner, who will mark her first anniversary in the role next month, said she would be willing to hold more public meetings to help gauge the concerns of Scarborough’s community.

And while she admitted the police “can always do better” in terms of talking to the public, she said the meeting had been the best attended since she started in the role.

She added: “I want to understand the views of the public because that’s my job.”