NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A women’s rights group is calling for stiffer penalties for those guilty of making false reports to police.
Founder and President of Women United Prodesta Moore said in a statement that the act of making false reports to the police is “reprehensible and harmful behavior” that undermines the justice system and has severe consequences for individuals, communities, and society as a whole.
Noting that it has been reported that two false reports of attempted child abduction have been made in less than one week, Moore said that Women United “unequivocally condemns the act of providing false information to law enforcement agencies and emphasizes the critical need for truthfulness and accountability.”
“In a just society, the integrity of the legal system relies heavily on the honesty and accuracy of the information provided to law enforcement authorities,” Moore wrote.
“The act of making false statements to the police undermines the pursuit of justice, and in those instances, created a sense of fear and panic about the safety of our children within the public at large.”
She added, “False reporting to the police can take many forms, including false accusations, fabricated evidence, or misleading information. Regardless of the specific method, the impact is consistently destructive.
False reports divert valuable law enforcement resources away from genuine cases, potentially delaying or preventing the resolution of real crimes. This diversion of resources not only endangers public safety but also wastes taxpayer money.”
Moore noted that false statements to the police can have severe consequences, both on innocent individuals who may be wrongly accused, on the investigation process itself and on the public psyche.
“They can inflict immense harm on innocent individuals. The reputations of the wrongly accused can be irreparably damaged, and their lives disrupted.The wrongfully accused may face unjust arrests, detention, or even violence.
“We saw that potential for violence erupt last week against recently released sexual offender, Sidney Cooper, as a result of a false attempted abduction report made by a 12-year-old girl; and, in that same incident, violence could have been visited upon any man in the area that fit the description, which was released to the public, of her alleged attacker,” Moore said.
“Such incidents erode public trust in the justice system; and, unfortunately, where they are made by women, they feed the fear that women will make false reports against men out of spite.
They lead to increased skepticism toward all future claims, creating an environment where genuine victims may fear coming forward. By making false statements, individuals impede the fair administration of justice and erode public trust in law enforcement agencies.”
To combat the issue, Moore said that it is crucial to educate the public about the consequences of making false reports and to strengthen penalties for those found guilty of such actions.
“Currently under section 175 of the Penal Code a person making a false report to the police faces a maximum $500 fine and or six months in prison. Consideration needs to be given to increasing the maximum fine and possible term of imprisonment.
“We accept that any false report of rape is very damaging to the person falsely accused and to true victims of rape for whom we advocate. We are therefore particularly sensitive about any such false report and do not support such reports being tolerated. Any person making such a false report should face the full force of the law.”