Police in Peel Region are urging people who make it a practice of posting videos and images they  capture of tragic incidents to consider keeping them private.

In a post on X, Const. Const. Tyler Bell-Morena reminded members of the public that while they might have the right to share footage of incidents where people are seriously injured or even killed, this behaviour is “inappropriate, repugnant, and extremely disrespectful to those impacted.”

“Sadly, there have been far too many instances where the families of those who are depicted in the videos learn of the incident by seeing it on social media,” he said.

“Seeing your loved one in their most vulnerable state when they have been seriously injured, when they are dying, or in some cases when they have died is something that no one should ever experience.”

Bell-Morena asked people who witness such an incident to do their part by calling 911 and provide life-saving assistance to the victim(s), if needed. He noted that those who choose to so are protected from liability under the Good Samaritan Act.

“We encourage you to instead use your phone for good and to call for help or render aid,” he said.

“If you have taken pictures or videos of this nature, we ask you to please consider the devastating impacts they have.”

Peel Regional Police (PRP) are asking people who have recorded footage of major incidents like serious collisions, shootings, or other criminal activities to instead consider turning it into police or Crime Stoppers anonymously “as it may in fact help the investigation in determining what actually happened,” Bell-Morena said.

During a follow-up interview with CP24.com, PRP media officer Const. Richard Chin said that this appeal isn’t connected to any specific instance where family or friends of someone who had been hurt or killed learned about the incident from videos or photos posted on social media, but said it’s about preventing that from happening.

“This is a campaign focused on education and compassion. …We want to just get ahead of this, to be a bit proactive.” he said.

“We want to remind the public to use their phone and social media for responsible and kind acts.” 

Chin said it’s about being respectful and mindful and urging the public to think about what they’re filming or sharing publically and why.

“The reality is that it’s a real person that has experienced some sort of trauma. That person is someone brother, son, or father. It’s a real person’s life experience,” he said.

“We want to be sensitive to that person and their family. … There’s so much negative out there and we don’t want to perpetuate that.”