In the Media

ACPO comment on police response to threats, harassment and offensive comments on social media

PUBLISHED July 30, 2013

National policing lead for ACPO Communication Advisory Group CC Andy Trotter said:

"Reports of credible threats and communications made over social media that specifically target an individual and constitute harassment will be taken very seriously by the police and investigated.

"The police will draw on the guidelines recently issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions to assess whether the threshold for communications which are grossly offensive, indecent, obscene or false is met. The CPS guidance is very clear that a high threshold applies in these cases. We encourage officers to work with the CPS at an early stage of an investigation to determine whether proceeding with a prosecution is in the public interest.

"There are many grossly offensive, indecent and obscene comments made every day on social media that will not meet the threshold and where the police should not be involved. Thousands and thousands of potential crimes would cause great difficulty for a hard-pressed police service. We would like to see social networks do more to take actions such as instantly suspend accounts where it might be appropriate."