Doncaster police chief tells public "don't believe social media" over child kidnap fears

A senior Doncaster police chief has warned members of the public not to believe social media posts as he moved to quell fears over reported child abduction attempts in the town.

Friday, 26th November 2021, 6:48 am

Inspector Mark Payling said that posts on social media were ‘unreliable’ and has urged people to get in touch with details of crimes, rather than believe posts on Facebook.

And addressing concerns over a number of recent ‘abduction’ attempts he said: “I cannot believe people actually believe there have been numerous attempted kidnappings.”

In a live question and answer session, he said: “Social media is well known to be unreliable when it comes to the accurate reporting of incidents.

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Inspector Mark Payling of South Yorkshire Police.

"We do not trawl Facebook sites in an effort to identify alleged crimes but expect people to contact us.”

Insp Payling moved to allay fears following a number of incidents in the town centre in recent weeks – but some residents remained unconvinced.

One replied: “You’re meant to keep us safe but at the minute you’re keeping us far from safe.”

Another said: “Our town centre is becoming a no go area - injection spiking, beggars, reports of attempted kidnapping of children....what the hell is happening and why is nothing being done.

"We don't feel safe in our town, our businesses need our support but we don't feel safe to go and support them.”

Replying, Insp Payling said that people were “somewhat misinformed” about the current situation in the town centre and added: “We are investigating one incident which was reported two days after it actually happened this but was not an attempted kidnapping.

“It seems people believe everything they read on social media. We can only go on the reports we receive and not what people post on Facebook.”

Earlier this week, police said they were investigating after a man was reported to have grabbed the handle of a woman’s pram in Baxter Gate in Doncaster town centre.

And in a separate incident, police were probing allegations that a group of men followed a mum in Doncaster’s Primark store and reportedly told her they would offer a ‘good price’ for her daughter.