Terrified residents have been spreading false rumours of child abductions in south Essex, according to police.I’ve seen this go around before. Once it starts, it’s very hard to stop. Old style gossip and Chinese whispers were bad enough, but the reliance on the Internet and texting means it now spreads exponentially faster and further than ever before.
Essex Police said it has been inundated with calls from frightened parents, asking about a spate of child abductions rumoured to have happened in Castle Point and Rayleigh in the past few days.
Residents started making the panicked calls around Saturday lunchtime, saying said they had received text messages or seen text messages on other people's phones containing the rumour.
But the police are doing their best:
But officers have been quick to stamp out the rumour and insist there is no truth to it.However, judging by the comments, it isn’t going to go away.
Among the sensible reactions we have some that sum up how these panics start, and why they are so hard to stop:
milesawayfromessex, Downtown says...Instantly, this is now at best a cock-up, at worst a conspiracy: ‘the authorities know something, but they aren’t telling us!’.
So what about the incident last Thursday, in Hockley, 8pm, near the Spa Pub, 11 year old boy, very distressed, crying, saying 2 men had tried to get him in a car?
When i checked with Essex Police they had no record of it, dispite their PCSO comforting the boy after the incident and looking for the two?????
so whats happening ?
This is helped by the ‘I’m not sure if this is a wind up, but better safe than sorry’ crowd:
buttonbaggins, Westcliff says...And then there’s the ‘hey, there’s a pattern emerging here’ people:
If i see something like that I feel its best to pass it on, as you its always best to be alert whether its true or not. As for this rumour my friend was sent it via a text from a POLICEMAN! so go figure!
Publicdefender, Castle Point says...And of course, since this is 2010, the ‘someone might be liable if they don’t!’ argument:
THERE IS A LOT OF SEXUAL CRIMES GOING ON AT THE MOMMENT.
SEE THE ECHO ,
the Echo should have outlined this in there piece.
Canvey has had a number if incidents, Thundersley has had a flasher and an approach from a car,now Hockley, from memory there has been 5 or 6 in 2 months .
People have a right to be concerned.
Hagrace, Hockley says...We sometimes forget that though the technology changes, people don’t.
My son's school sent a letter home Friday about the incident in Hockley so they obviously thought there was something to write home about (pardon the pun) Even if this is Chinese whispers, at least it makes parents alert. No matter what we tell our kids about strangers, there's nothing a youngster could do if a grown-up physically dragged them into a car. Vigilance is vital and I am glad the school took it seriously enough to take action. If they hadn't and an abduction occured there would be hell to pay as well as compensation claims!!!
Take away the texting, the Twittering, the mobile calls, and how is this reaction any different to a bunch of superstitious, frightened peasants warning everyone they meet on their way to the fields to dig turnips for a living about the witch who is making their neighbour’s cows barren?