You are here: Home » PTI Stories » National » News
Business Standard

New cyber unit at Scotland Yard to tackle online hate crimes

Press Trust of India  |  London 

Scotland Yard today said it had set up a new multi-million-pound cyber unit to monitor online hate crimes.

A team of volunteers will search out material they deem inappropriate on social networks and report it to the new Metropolitan Police unit. The allegations will then be investigated and culprits prosecuted.

"The Metropolitan police service is committed to working with our partners, including the mayor, to tackle all types of hate crime including offences committed online," a spokesperson for the Met police said.

"By establishing this unit, we are sending a strong message to those who use online forums to spread hate that their actions will not be tolerated. The Metropolitan Police service continues to have a zero-tolerance approach to all forms of hate crime.

"The Met encourages all victims of hate crime to report any incident to the police and will make every effort to hold offenders to account and bring them to justice," he added.

The unit will cost the Met Police1.7 million pounds to create and will be staffed by five detectives.

The UK Home Office is also said to be investing 452,756 pounds into a linked Online Hate Crime Hub, which is due to run for two years.

London mayor Sadiq Khan's Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) said a consultation on crime reduction had identified the increasing role online hate played in targeting individuals and communities.

The consultation found social media provided hate-crime perpetrators with a veil of anonymity, making it harder to bring them to justice and potentially affecting a larger number of people.

The new initiative comes after the June 23 referendum in favour of Brexit saw a 42 per cent rise in reports of hate crimes in the wake of the EU referendum.

Social media companies like Facebook and Twitter will be asked to help fund a "community" element of the project, drafting in volunteers "skilled in the use of social media" to root out online abuse.

However, civil liberty groups have expressed concerns over the new unit.

Andrew Allison, of the Freedom Association libertarian group said, "There's a risk of online vigilantism, where people who are offended by the least thing will have a licence to report it to the police".

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Sun, August 14 2016. 18:07 IST