New po­lice hub to tackle on­line hate crime

Wales On Sunday - - NEWS - HAY­DEN SMITH Press As­so­ci­a­tion news­desk@waleson­

ANEW na­tional po­lice hub will be set up to boost ef­forts to track down trolls re­spon­si­ble for on­line hate crime and rid so­cial me­dia of abu­sive con­tent. The mea­sure – an­nounced by Home Sec­re­tary Am­ber Rudd – will aim to im­prove sup­port for vic­tims and drive up pros­e­cu­tions of 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 non-crime in­ci­dent, com­bin­ing du­pli­cate re­ports and seek­ing to iden­tify per­pe­tra­tors.

Where ap­pro­pri­ate, it will make re­fer­rals to on­line plat­forms so that hate­ful ma­te­rial can be re­moved.

The unit will also be tasked with clar­i­fy­ing the force re­spon­si­ble for fur­ther ac­tion in each case, re­mov­ing any un­cer­tainty which could arise when, for ex­am­ple, a vic­tim is lo­cated in one area, with the al­leged per­pe­tra­tor in an­other.

Groups mon­i­tor­ing anti-Semitic and Is­lam­o­pho­bic abuse re­port that a sig­nif­i­cant pro­por­tion of in­ci­dents in­volve the in­ter­net, and au­thor­i­ties and so­cial me­dia plat­forms have come un­der the spot­light over their re­sponse to the prob­lem.

Ms Rudd said: “On­line hate crime is com­pletely un­ac­cept­able. What is il­le­gal off­line is il­le­gal on­line, and those who com­mit th­ese cow­ardly crimes should be met with the full force of the law.

“The na­tional on­line hate crime hub that we are fund­ing is an im­por­tant step to en­sure more vic­tims have the con­fi­dence to come for­ward and re­port the vile abuse to which they are be­ing sub­jected.

“The hub will also im­prove our un­der­stand­ing of the scale and na­ture of this de­spi­ca­ble form of abuse.

“With the po­lice, we will use this new in­tel­li­gence to adapt our re­sponse so that even more vic­tims are safe­guarded and per­pe­tra­tors pun­ished.”

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, com­plaints will be as­sessed and cases as­signed to the ap­pro­pri­ate force.

A to­tal of 62,518 h a t e crmesi were recorded by forces in Eng­land and Wales in 2015/16, while the CPS com­pleted 15,442 pros­e­cu­tions.

The hub is ex­pected to be run­ning by the end of the year.

Pic­ture posed by a model

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