UK sets up unit to track online hate crime

LONDON, 9 Oct 2017: 

Britain is to set up its first-ever expert unit to track down people guilty of online hate crime.

Home secretary Amber Rudd, who heads Britain’s interior department, yesterday announced a new national hub to fight the emerging threat of online hate crime. It will ensure better support for victims and help drive up the number of prosecutions.

The hub, expected to be operational by the end of this year, will be run by police officers for the National Police Chiefs Council.

Specialist police officers will provide expert case management and better support and advice to victims of online hate crime. The hub will also ensure all online cases are properly investigated.

“Online hate crime is completely unacceptable. 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.”

The Home Office said the hub’s primary aim is to improve police response to the problem of hate crime online. Victims will be kept updated throughout, as police forces seek to bring perpetrators to justice.

Earlier this year, a number of House of Commons MPs called for new legislation, saying existing laws such as those around hate speech and the incitement to violence are not sufficient in the online environment.

Online hate crime, often referred to as “trolling”, has enabled people to break the law by hiding beneath a cloak of anonymity on social media platforms.

– Bernama

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