A nightmare scenario of police stepping in to sort out personal squabbles…Police chief calls for a simplification of law concerning online insults so that it is clearer when a crime is being committed

Posted: 6 March, 2016 in Internet, Police Censorship
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essex police logo The chief constable of Essex has called for new legislation to tackle an unimagined scale of online abuse that he clains is threatening to overwhelm the police service. Stephen Kavanagh argues it is necessary to consolidate and simplify offences committed online to improve the chance of justice for tens of thousands of victims:

There are crimes now taking place — the malicious use of intimate photographs for example — which we never would have imagined as an offence when I was a PC in the 80s. It’s not just the nature of it, it is the sheer volume.

The levels of abuse that now take place within the internet are on a level we never really expected. If we did try to deal with all of it we would clearly be swamped.

No police chief would claim the way we deliver police services has sufficiently adapted to the new threat and harms that the internet brings

A group of cross-party MPs will introduce a private member’s bill into parliament on Wednesday to update the law on cyber-enabled crime. The draft legislation, being introduced by Liz Saville Roberts, a Plaid Cymru MP, calls for a review and consolidation into one act of all the legislation currently being used against digital crime. It also calls for new powers to outlaw the use of spyware or webcams on digital devices without permission.

There are currently more than 30 pieces of legislation currently being used against online crimes. These include the Contempt of Court Act 1981, Protection from Harassment Act 1997, Malicious Communications Act 1988, Communications Act 2003, Offences Against the Person Act 1861, Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1992, Crime and Disorder Act 1998, Computer Misuse Act 1990, and the Criminal Justice Act 2003.

[What a nightmare it would be if the police got involved a wider remit of online insult. Injustice would surely prevail with the police always taking sides with the complainant. People would be quick to use false or trivial claims to settle scores with the ability to get people into serious trouble for minor insults or political incorrectness etc].

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