The government is spending hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ cash on the first-ever national police unit dedicated to tackling internet ‘trolls’.
The Home Office has dedicated £200,000 towards setting up the ‘hub’ in the hope it will see more web users tracked down and prosecuted for causing offence on social media.
A small team of officers will be dedicated to assessing reports of perceived abuse made to the police’s True Vision ‘hate crime’ reporting platform, which was used by pro-EU campaigners to claim Brexit had caused a wave of ‘hate crimes’.
The police will also spend their time contacting tech firms to demand that ‘hate speech’ is deleted from the internet, the Mail on Sunday reports.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said Saturday night: “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.”
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 2, 2016
Last year, the London mayor’s office for policing and crime (Mopac) announced it was spending £1,730,726 of taxpayers’ money policing speech online after applying for a grant from the Home Office.
Sadiq Khan’s office promised to set up a police “online hate crime hub” to work in “partnership with social media providers” to criminalise “trolls” who “target … individuals and communities”.
Last year, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) confirmed that no evidence is needed to bring a criminal complaint against someone for a “hate crime”, as “reporting … is subjective and is based on the perception of the victim”.
“In order to treat a crime as a hate crime for the purposes of investigation, there is no need for evidence to prove the aggravating element,” the guidelines add.
“Hate crimes” receive harsher sentences than other crimes, and “aggravating” factors are often vague, such as the definition of “transphobia”.