Police Urge Caution: Texts, Social Media

November 10, 2011

Saying “the power of social media has made the solemn duty of informing next of kin increasingly difficult,” the Bermuda Police Service has urged members of the public to think of the family members who may learn of the death of a loved one via text, BBM or email.

Assistant Commissioner of Police David Mirfield said, “The Bermuda Police Service takes the role of informing next of kin that their loved one has died very seriously.”

“Confirming death and positively identifying the victim must take place before efforts are made to contact an immediate family member at the earliest possible opportunity. If the next of kin is located overseas, notification may take longer.”

“Our intention in this process is to provide accurate information to the victim’s next of kin in a sensitive and timely manner. Only when the police are satisfied that the next of kin have been informed, and the identity of the person confirmed, will the police make the name public.”

“However, the power of social media has made the solemn duty of informing next of kin increasingly difficult. Within an hour of the tragic murder of 18 year old Malcolm Outerbridge, a photo and name claiming to be that of the deceased was being circulated via mobile phone – but in that instance both were incorrect.”

“We continue to discourage the dissemination of unconfirmed information by the public or the media, as this can cause unnecessary distress.”

“Each situation is different and while our objective is not to take an inordinate amount of time to inform the next of kin, our emphasis has to be on accuracy and ensuring the appropriate resources are available to assist the victim’s grieving family.”

“To that end, the Bermuda Police Service has specially trained Family Liaison Officers (FLOs) who facilitate families during tragic circumstances.

“While there is no way to control the distribution of images and information through various technological means, even when it’s regarding a recently deceased individual, we urge those members of the public engaging in such activity to think of the family members who may learn of the death of a loved one via text, BBM or e-mail as a result.”

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Comments (11)

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  1. 80's Role Model says:

    Ain’t no way around it . Streets Talk

  2. ber girl says:

    I wish people would have a bit more sympathy for the families. I found out my cousin had passed through BBM before my family had a chance to contact me. This all happened within a hour of his passing. The feeling of seeing it out there like that knocks the breath out of you. People should realize that families need to be notified and give the family that time and privacy. Please do this

  3. THE HELL!! says:

    Unfortunately Bermuda is the rumor & gossip capital of the world social media has just magnified the problem I don’t think it will ever stop.

    • Same S*** Different Day says:

      This is so true it is just the way of Bermudians sorry.

  4. Emeka47 says:

    Living in 22sq miles with NOSEY Bermudians, who feel that it’s their obligation to put other people’s information or business on the social media sites is their right. It’s like they’ve got to be the ‘first’ person to spread the gossip or news. Don’t matter if it’s true or false. They will eventually be the recipient of their own KARMA when someone in their immediate circle of family or friends meets with misfortune, be it criminal, death, or serious injury. They need to find something constructive to do rather than meddling

  5. lionheart says:




  6. Alana(2nd Chance) says:

    Well said! Peopletry tobe helpful,but are doing more harm than good!

  7. Alana(2nd Chance) says:

    Well said! People try to be helpful,but are doing more harm than good!

  8. Kathy says:

    So sad that people find pleasure in doing that. People should be that fast in sending information out when crimes are committed that will be more helpful to police.

  9. Down de Road says:

    I am a friend of the Malcolm’s family and I found out of his untimely death via FB even before his family knew it was disgusting, His parents and sister found out via FB as well but long after everyone knew and rumors were quickly spreading. Bermudians on a whole are a bunch of nosey people, they know more about your business than they know about their own. They live for gossip and rumors and then have the nerve to say we are friendly, sad sad sad. I truly understand that this is a new era and and we can’t stop the social media but each of us would put ourselves in the family’s place then we may add to it. Be blessed everyone. BTW Malcolm is is a better place, we on the other hand are still in this sinful world.

  10. Bermudian @heart. says:

    yes, i agree with all of you this is rude and we all should show some more respect on situations of this nature. But to say Bermudians are so nosey and so on thats not true…it is called human imperfaction,,its not a Bermudian thing the Americans,,Canadians the English, the Portuguese and so on they all say the same thing about their own it all comes down to lack of respect and everyone to whant to be the first to break the news…