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Social Media Crimes On The Up

Time for the Police to tackle social media

A senior officer has reported that complaints originating from social media make up “at least half” of a front-line police officer’s work. Chief Constable Alex Marshall, head of the College of Policing, said the number of crimes being reported due to social media are becoming “a real problem.”

social media crime
Source: mashable.com

He also stated that around 6,000 officers were being trained so that they can successfully, and efficiently deal with online offences. Despite these actions in place he said that both the police and the public were still trying to understand when online insults became a crime.

When discussing the issue as a whole, he said: “As people have moved their shopping online and their communications online, they've also moved their insults, their abuse and their threats online, so I see that it won’t be long before pretty much every investigation that the police conduct will have an online element to it.”

“It’s a real problem for people working on the front line of policing, and they deal with this every day.”

He went on to say: “So in a typical day where perhaps they deal with a dozen calls, they might expect that at least half of them, whether around antisocial behaviour or abuse or threats of assault may well relate to social media, Facebook, Twitter or other forms.”

A great number of police officers from around the country have echoed these words above, and they highlighted that they were now being asked to respond to social media related incidents, including death threats, bullying and harassment.

Det Con Roger, from Greater Manchester Police was nostalgic when thinking about the changes, and he acknowledged that there has been monumental changes since he joined the force 14 years ago: “These are traditional offences, and you don’t need to actually front someone face-to-face in the street to threaten them.”

“This can all be done from the comfort of your own home, a coffee shop with wi-fi, and these people can commit crime anywhere to anybody.”

social media crime
Source: express.com

An unnamed officer pointed to the changing of times we are living in today, and he stated that whilst there were complaints serious enough to follow up and investigate further, there were many related incidents not considered crimes before the era of social media.

He said: “A lot of the time... it’s that whole attitude of, ‘I don’t know what to do, I’ll call the police, they'll sort it out for me.’

“It should be a case of let’s be sensible, let’s not be friends with that person on Facebook, perhaps contact Facebook first or don’t use Facebook. It’s common sense stuff.”

It is clear to see that society is going through a great change, and the police and general public are but mere children of the social media era. This makes it difficult to figure out an effective strategy of tackling such crime, as it is happening at such a rate that it is nearly impossible to keep up with. It is made even more difficult when people are reporting incidents to the police that do not require their action.

There needs to be an understanding between the general public and the law enforcers in this country, and that is that there needs to be a deep thought process before deciding that calling the police is a necessary step after receiving unsavoury messages online, and that also the police are currently being educated in this field so there will be some teething issues when dealing with these complaints.


Alex is an English Literature and Sociology undergraduate whose love for written word has led him to write about some obscure topics in his time. Currently a content writer at Social Media Frontiers, be sure to follow him @AlexSatSMF.

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Social Media Crimes On The Up Reviewed by Unknown on Tuesday, June 24, 2014 Rating: 5
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