Police are demanding that a social media hate page targeting a Ballarat police officer be taken down, following the removal of a similar page targeting a Melbourne-based officer on Tuesday.
The Facebook hate page, which targets an experienced and currently serving Ballarat police officer*, was set up exactly two years ago today.
It includes derogatory comments about the officer and photographs taken through a window of a fast-food restaurant showing the officer off-duty.
People posting on the page have expressed anger at being “booked” by the officer, with some describing him as a “dog” and another calling for “lead through his head”.
There are also comments on the page that make derogatory remarks about the officer’s family.
On Monday, a similar Facebook page was set up, targeting a police officer from Melbourne’s east.
Police immediately called a press conference condemning the page and it was withdrawn within 24 hours.
The hate page about the Ballarat officer has been active since December 13, 2010, and when contacted by The Courier yesterday, a Melbourne-based police spokesperson agreed the page was unacceptable.
The spokesperson confirmed that police in Ballarat had been aware of the page for some time.
“Victoria Police will seek to have the Facebook page removed,” the spokesperson said.
“A Facebook page is not the way to put forward a complaint regarding a police officer.
“Victoria Police takes all complaints seriously, but any complaints about the behaviour or conduct of a Victoria Police member should be made via your local police station (or) Ethical Standards Command.”
Police said that the maximum penalty for stalking was 10 years imprisonment, while using a carriage service to harass, menace or cause offence could also attract a jail sentence of up to three years.
Police also said it was illegal to publish or transmit objectionable material, which could also attract a prison term as punishment.
*The Courier has decided not to publish the identity of the Ballarat officer.