[UK} Police are being ‘swamped’ by a massive increase in online crime and require new legislation to tackle the problem, a top chief constable has warned.
Stephen Kavanagh, Chief Constable of Essex Police is also the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead on Digital Intelligence and Investigation. He has warned the current legislation is hampering the investigation of online crime.
He said: ‘Often victims don’t know how to articulate what happened to them, they aren’t clear what the offence is if there is one. When they then get an ambiguous response from the police, it undermines their confidence about what has happened. It is not just about officers and staff being confident, it is about victims being confident that what has taken place is a crime. So the law needs to be pulled together and the powers consolidated into a single place.’
The Crown Prosecution Service is currently updating its guidelines on tackling cyber crime and abuse over social media.
The CPS has launched a ten-week public consultation on proposals to update Social Media Guidelines.
Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders said: ‘Online communication is developing at such a fast pace, new ways of targeting and abusing individuals online are constantly emerging. We are seeing more and more cases where social media is being used as a method to facilitate both existing and new offences.
‘It is vital that prosecutors consider the bigger picture when looking at evidence and examine both the online and offline behaviour pattern of the defendant. Online abuse is cowardly and can be deeply upsetting to the victim.
It’s pretty much open season online. The authorities are having difficulty coping. The to- and fro- nature of the exchanges also means that evidence continues to pile up even after the first complaint has been laid. Read more »