POLICE SET TO HUNT TROLLS
Team will offer online security
A NEW police team will patrol the internet in an effort to track down hate crime “trolls”.
The measure, announced by Home Secretary Amber Rudd, inset, is designed to improve support for victims and drive up prosecutions.
The plan is aimed at targeting offenders responsible for abusing other internet users based on their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity.
Run by a small team of specialist officers, the hub’s activities will include assessing whether circumstances of a complaint amount to a crime or a non-crime, combining duplicate reports and seeking to identify perpetrators.
Where appropriate, it will make referrals to online platforms, like Facebook or Twitter, so that hateful material can be removed.
Groups monitoring antiSemitic and Islamophobic abuse report that a significant proportion of incidents involve the internet and social media platforms are in the spotlight over their response to the problem.
Ms Rudd said: “Online hate crime is unacceptable. What is illegal offline is illegal online and those who commit these cowardly crimes will be met with the full force of the law.
“The national online hate crime hub that we are funding is an important step to ensuring victims can report the vile abuse to which they are being subjected.” Officials said the hub’s primary aim is to improve the police response to the problem of hate crime online. Following referral to the national hub via True Vision, a police reporting website, individual complaints will be assessed and relevant cases assigned to the appropriate local force for investigation. The National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for hate crime, Mark Hamilton, said: “Whether online or in person, nobody should have to live with threats and hatred.”
The hub is expected to be operational before the end of the year.