Lancashire Police probe cyber troll nuisance complaints

Stan Collymore is angry with Twitter

Stan Collymore is angry with Twitter

First published in East Lancashire
Last updated
Chorley Citizen: Photograph of the Author by , Crime reporter

ALMOST 800 complaints about abuse involving social networking sites were received by Lancashire Police in three years.

It comes as a national debate has been sparked following allegations made by ex-England footballer Stan Collymore that he was racially abused on Twitter.

He has accused the site’s bosses of not doing enough to combat so-called cyber trolls.

Police in Lancashire revealed, after a request made under the Freedom of Information Act, that 792 crimes involving Twitter, Facebook, Bebo and Myspace were reported to them between April 2010 and July 2013.

Among those, 335 offences involved threatening, harassing or bullying behaviour, including threats to kill, blackmail, threats to commit criminal damage and causing public fear alarm or distress.

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson said he had been a victim of online abuse, although he had not reported it to police. He said: “People say all sorts of things, unrepeatable things.

“In a position like mine, you expect robust criticism and comment on social forums. Sometimes it has crossed the line.

“I have operated a policy of when somebody makes an outright racist comment, I defriend them or block them.

“There are many individuals out there, particularly young people, who can take abuse and things said on social media very, very seriously and abusers can use social media as a way of getting to victims in their own homes.”

Hyndburn and Haslingden MP Graham Jones, who writes a blog and uses Twitter to interact with constituents, said the government needed to ‘come down hard’ on online abusers.

He said: “There are people out there who think they have a right to be offensive and they do not.

“If it was down to me, I would take a very hard line on these people. It is about time they were prosecuted.

“If I get the opportunity to speak out about trolls and keyboard warriors, I will. These people have serious personal issues.”

He suggested the use of fixed penalty notices to tackle the problem.

Nobody from Lancashire Police was available to comment yesterday.

Comments (8)

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4:05pm Fri 24 Jan 14

Chuck-Norris says...

Some people REALLY need to get a life - I'm sure the Police's time could be better spent than dealing with this sort of childish dross
Some people REALLY need to get a life - I'm sure the Police's time could be better spent than dealing with this sort of childish dross Chuck-Norris
  • Score: 11

4:35pm Fri 24 Jan 14

Manuel Hung says...

Have Lancashire Police not just got rid of 600 bobbies because they have to save money?
I don't think name calling is going to be top of their list is it?
Have Lancashire Police not just got rid of 600 bobbies because they have to save money? I don't think name calling is going to be top of their list is it? Manuel Hung
  • Score: 5

5:53pm Fri 24 Jan 14

golazzo says...

Collymore just loves the attention. He's hardly a saint himself. Short memories if I'm not mistaken. Just ask Ulrika and the subject of Abuse at the hands of Collymore.
Collymore just loves the attention. He's hardly a saint himself. Short memories if I'm not mistaken. Just ask Ulrika and the subject of Abuse at the hands of Collymore. golazzo
  • Score: 6

9:52pm Fri 24 Jan 14

phil kernot says...

Not being funny it's only attention seekers that use twitter face book it's for losers , why would you add people who you don't know or talk to if you didn't want there reaction , simple as this if you can't take it stay off it and get a life , sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me ,,, he called me a name what do thay do waste police time ...
Not being funny it's only attention seekers that use twitter face book it's for losers , why would you add people who you don't know or talk to if you didn't want there reaction , simple as this if you can't take it stay off it and get a life , sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me ,,, he called me a name what do thay do waste police time ... phil kernot
  • Score: 3

10:59am Sat 25 Jan 14

Excluded again says...

Among the 335 offences involved threatening, harassing or bullying behaviour, including threats to kill, blackmail and threats to commit criminal damage.

Those are not 'name calling'. They are criminal offences and if they happened in the street, people would be arrested.

The anonimity makes it worse as you do not know who is serious and who is not. If my wife says to me 'I'm going to kill you for that', I'm not going to phone the police - she doesn't mean it. If a complete stranger came up to me in the street and said 'I know where you live and I'm going to kill you', I would be very worried.
Among the 335 offences involved threatening, harassing or bullying behaviour, including threats to kill, blackmail and threats to commit criminal damage. Those are not 'name calling'. They are criminal offences and if they happened in the street, people would be arrested. The anonimity makes it worse as you do not know who is serious and who is not. If my wife says to me 'I'm going to kill you for that', I'm not going to phone the police - she doesn't mean it. If a complete stranger came up to me in the street and said 'I know where you live and I'm going to kill you', I would be very worried. Excluded again
  • Score: 4

1:19pm Sat 25 Jan 14

Michael@ClitheroeSince58 says...

2for5p's days are numbered :)
2for5p's days are numbered :) Michael@ClitheroeSince58
  • Score: 3

3:03pm Sat 25 Jan 14

woolywords says...

Michael@ClitheroeSin
ce58
wrote:
2for5p's days are numbered :)
I do wish that you didn't pick on Twofer like this, as he'll only take revenge and put the prices up.
[quote][p][bold]Michael@ClitheroeSin ce58[/bold] wrote: 2for5p's days are numbered :)[/p][/quote]I do wish that you didn't pick on Twofer like this, as he'll only take revenge and put the prices up. woolywords
  • Score: 1

10:37pm Sat 25 Jan 14

noddy57 says...

Chuck-Norris wrote:
Some people REALLY need to get a life - I'm sure the Police's time could be better spent than dealing with this sort of childish dross
yeah they should and so should all the other social net workers who spend far too much time waffling crap on a needless media,scrap all these gossip sites we don,t need it,
[quote][p][bold]Chuck-Norris[/bold] wrote: Some people REALLY need to get a life - I'm sure the Police's time could be better spent than dealing with this sort of childish dross[/p][/quote]yeah they should and so should all the other social net workers who spend far too much time waffling crap on a needless media,scrap all these gossip sites we don,t need it, noddy57
  • Score: 0

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