Threat Management

Scotland Yard setting up Twitter police task force

Scotland Yard is to set up a unit which will be tasked with investigating offensive comments posted on the internet.

The police force, Britain's biggest, plans to spend £1.7 million to set up its Twitter cop-squad.

The Home Office will also be putting £452,756 into the Online Hate Crime Hub, which is due to run for two years.

Five detectives will run the squad, supported by army volunteers who will be trained in the art of quashing online trolls.

The detectives' role will be ‘identifying the location of the crime' when online abuse is reported, and refer it to ‘the appropriate force area and social media providers'.

Trolls can now be jailed for up to two years for ‘malicious communication' under laws amended in 2015.

It is feared that this will lead to large numbers of comments being reported to social media providers or police as inappropriate, even if they were only meant jokingly or had no malicious intent.

The leader of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron, has compared the force to the Thought Police out of George Orwell's novel 1984 saying, “we need more police on the streets.”

The announcement comes as reports of hate racist and sexist abuse on social media are on the rise, with a surge of 42 percent, with a lot of it being attributed to Britain's oncoming exit from the European Union.

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