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Chief Constable Mike Bartons Open letter, Harassment and abuse through Social Media.

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I write as the head of an English police force concerned about the increasing amount of time and effort being spent by my officers and staff dealing with harassment and abuse through social media.

 

I note a recent report which cited that the number of people prosecuted or cautioned for sending offensive and threatening messages over social media, phone or email has risen sharply.

 

There was a 40% increase in the number of people charged for “improper use of electronic messages” between 2010 and 2013 in England, from 506 to 708. 

 

During the same period, the number of cautions issued for the same offence rose from 147 to 458.

 

However, this does not tell the full story, as was found in a recent study carried out in my own force.

 

Using the cyber keywords, 2,962 incidents were identified over a three month period during 2014.

 

This averages around 230 cyber related incidents per month. 

 

Key findings showed that online harassment, threats, abuse and bullying accounted for 68% of all incidents with an online element.

 

This data suggests that the Internet is used as a platform to harass, make threats, abuse, bully someone and in some cases the dispute has escalated ‘offline’ and a crime has been committed, for example, criminal damage or violence.

 

As we move towards a more technological dependent society and daily activities such as shopping and reading the news is conducted ‘online’, the way in which we communicate with one another has now moved online, including online insults and harassment. 

 

Indeed, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, recently wrote that Twitter was not the best place to have a row and has called for a ban on online trolls.

 

However, only 8% of online harassment, threats, abuse and bullying reported incidents were recorded as a crime – and that is the real issue we, as a police force, are facing.

 

The challenge for us is distinguishing when these online disputes/insults become a crime.

 

As we attempt to deal with unprecedented cuts in policing, more and more time is spent by my officers dealing with online rows and abuse where we have no real chance of any prosecution.

 

Regularly I am told by beat officers that they are visiting the homes of people whose child has been called names by another child on Twitter or Facebook. It is not a pleasant incident, but is this what the public would like my officers to spend their time doing?

 

Dick Costolo, chief executive of Twitter, has admitted that the company is not doing enough to tackle harassment and abuse, saying “We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform.”

 

I welcome this acknowledgement and encourage him to start taking a tougher stance on online troublemakers.

 

I am happy to work to work with him and others to make our cyber world a safer place as it is not an issue we can tackle alone.

 

Put simply, if people can’t behave online then Dick Costolo and his colleagues should remove the privilege of Twitter and other social media channels and kick them off.

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Families warned to drain paddling pools to stop vampire horseflies breeding after heatwave

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Vampire like horseflies are breeding like never before as Britain enjoys the longest heatwave in 40 years.

They are breeding like never before with the aide of garden pools and the heatwave.

The NHS is now advising members of the public to drain standing water to stop insects multiplying.

These insects love water and the heat will only help them increase in numbers.

The problem comes when they bite you, more that 9000 people have called the NHS helpline 111 to report these insects bites.

They leave a painful bite which often requires antibiotics if they become infected.

According to Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, bites from vampire horseflies can be especially sore.

He told the BBC: “They actually give one of the nastier bites, because they take a chunk out of you.”

“They can be very painful, and can take a while to heal, and as result can get infected and need antibiotics.”

Paddling pools are prime breeding grounds for these bugs.

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Thug attempted to kill cop jailed for less than 2 years… It should be life

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We know you should have faced attempted murder charges, we know your laughing at your sentence. Because you attempted to kill a cop to avoid arrest because you are an idiot.

But be assured when that day comes that you need the police to save your life they won’t hold it against you.

In the early hours of Wednesday, 13 June officers chased a suspected stolen vehicle along the A22 Godstone Bypass, after it had been linked to a burglary in Oxted eight days before.

Officers managed to box the vehicle in (using a manoeuvre known as Tactical Pursuit and Containment TPAC).

During the TPAC, the vehicle swerved into one of the police cars, trying to force it off of the road. Officers managed to box the vehicle in, and it then tried to reverse away from officers, so officers got out of their vehicles and tried to remove the driver (Kidd), this included smashing the windows of the vehicle.

In car video footage shows Sergeant Chris Schultze, of the Area Patrol Team, was on the passenger’s side of the vehicle, but then started to go towards the driver’s side to assist officers.

As Sergeant Schultze was making his way to the driver’s side, Kidd drove forward in what appeared to be a deliberate attempt to knock the officers over the barrier, as seen in the footage.

Sergeant Schultze was initially treated at hospital for his injuries, and was later discharged and is now back on duty

The three occupants (two 19-year-old men from Sutton and a 17-year-old man) were arrested for various offences including burglary, theft of a motor vehicle, and failure to stop.

Ramone Kidd, 19-years-old, of Prince of Wales Road in Sutton, South London appeared at Guildford Crown Court yesterday (12 July), and pleaded guilty to the following:

Dangerous driving

Driving whilst disqualified

Driving whilst unfit through drink / drugs

Actual bodily harm (ABH)

Kidd was sentenced to 23 months in prison, and has had his licence disqualified for three years.

In court, His Honour Judge Moss commended all the officers involved in the initial pursuit and the investigation team.

Detective Sergeant Kerry Akehurst, from the Criminal Investigation Department said: “I would firstly like to echo what His Honour Judge Moss said around the professionalism of the officers involved in the incident.

“The role of a police officer is to protect the public, and each day officers put their lives at risk to apprehend suspects and protect the public. During this particular incident, officers attempted to stop the vehicle, and in doing so, three officers received injuries and four police vehicles sustained damage.”

The 19 and 17 year-old men have been released under investigation for the burglary offences whilst enquiries continue.

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The cops never complained… The media did, We Did!

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Recently an image of Donald Trump’s accommodation went viral and everyone likened the police to the army and the fact that because they are serving the public they should simply accept it.

While others including Police Hour believed the accommodation for a pre-planned event should be more suitable.

What shocked us the most was women slept on the floor and had a couple of toilets to share, while men with more luxury camp beds had a similar amount of toilets to share.

Shamefully this should not be happening at a pre-planned event, after all the police aren’t the army and should at least be kept in conditions in which they have a chance of sleeping within, allowing them to be refreshed ready for a 12-hour protest public order shift.

We complained about their welfare and lack of sleep due to so many people sleeping in such a small space. Is it not really acceptable in 2018 for a pre-planned event? this is not the Army. Many of these cops have slept in armed forces situations, in war zones, they simply got on with the job.

But not a single police officer complained, the media did, Twitter did and Facebook did. They simply got on with it and have done a fantastic job, They’ve not moaned like many have assumed they have.

Police Constable Rob Hammond who was part of the deployment tweeted that ‘I liked mine but could not keep it – so much better than the safari bed i was issued when in British Army the thing used to spontaneously collapse imagine 300 plus bobbies being flung out of bed at a sneeze”

SGT S tweeted that “for a massed deployment this venue was great. The female officers accom needed more thought. Disagree strongly with those airing publicly their complaints when there is a chain of command to follow and as officers should show greater resilience mu thanks to Colchester Garrison”.

Inspector Steve Wykes Tweeted “Well LB1 Northumbria is home after a really interesting few days away. Privileged to be part of @ThamesVP operation for @POTUS visit. We were well fed, well accommodated and deployed into the fantastic Blenheim palace. Grateful to my team for their efforts @northumbriapol”

Manc Sergeant who releases the photo took to Twitter to clarify a couple of points tweeting that “no cops actually complained, we were just getting on with it but a photo of the accommodation went viral”.

Also tweeting “Morale was always high and everyone was having a laugh whilst getting the job done even after putting in a 18 hour shift on 1 hours sleep!”.

They got on with the biggest deployment since 2011, made some friends for life and had a great weekend policing.

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