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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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ARRESTED: Hostages taken by armed man at Nuneaton Bowling Alley

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Armed Police and specially trained negotiators have successfully ended a hostage situation that lasted almost four hours.

Armed Officers and Ambulance Crews responded to the major incident at the MFA Bowling Alley in Nuneaton following a vast amount of calls reporting a man with a sawn-off shotgun.

The man is believed to have taken two hostages who were both staff members within the bowling alley.

Mehdi Afshar Chief Executive of MFA Bowl confirmed that two members of his staff were being held, hostage.

It is Mehdi believe that the suspect gunman is known to one of his staff members and the relationship is either an ex-husband or boyfriend.

No customers or other staff members were hurt in the incident and were allowed to freely leave, while the suspect told many others to get the F**k out of here while screaming at his hostages it is Game Over.

 

The incident began just after 3pm on Sunday 22nd October when many families and children fled the scene after spotting the gunman.

Those that did not escape the scene immediately were told to leave by the gunman.  Police quickly ruled out the incident as being terror-related.

Credit: PoliceHour

The full area is on lockdown with all roads in and out of the area have been blocked and no one is allowed to leave the Nearby Odeon Cinema located next door to the bowling alley or a nearby soft play centre.

The Air Ambulance has landed near the bowling alley and has since left the location.

Video footage shows a number of armed police officers in a car park at the scene.

 

Warwickshire Police confirmed that they were dealing with an “ongoing incident” however while the incident was ongoing they did not confirm the nature of the incident.

Once the incident had concluded police confirmed that the man had been arrested and two hostages had been released uninjured.

Moments before the incident ended flash bangs were seen and heard before armed officers moved in and very quickly the suspect was arrested before being placed in the back of an ambulance which left the scene on blue lights and under a police escort.

A Spokesperson for Warwickshire Police confirmed the suspect had now been arrested and the situation was over.

“Specialist firearms officers and police negotiators, along with fire, ambulance and police air services, attended the location at the bowling alley in St David’s Way, Bermuda Park. A man has been arrested and is in police custody.

“Members of public at the bowling alley and neighbouring properties were evacuated to safety and nobody was injured during the incident.

“Warwickshire Police Chief Superintendent Alex Franklin-Smith said: “We would like to thank local people for their patience and cooperation while officers dealt with this incident. We are pleased that we were able to bring this incident to a peaceful resolution and that there were no injuries. I would like to reassure the Nuneaton community that the incident is unconnected to any terrorist activity.”

 

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Urgent Warning over exploding paw patrol soap after boy three in intensive care bath bomb exploded

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Three-year-old boy is currently in a critical condition after a canister of Paw Patrol bath foam exploded while he was having a bath

The product has not been recalled, however, we would urge all parents to think twice when thinking about using this product.

The little tot is currently being cared for at Belfast’s Royal Hospital for Sick Children last night.

The little boy has burns to the outside and inside of his body, it is believed he was in the bath with his Paw Patrol Foam soap and it suddenly exploded.

The boy who has not been named was rushed to hospital on blue lights in a critical condition.

A spokesman for the Belfast Trust said the little boy is “in the children’s intensive care unit and his condition is critical”.

Nickelodeon confirmed that they had heard about the incident and that they were investigating the matter.

Confirming “We are terribly sorry to hear about this dreadful incident and we are gathering more information about the licensed product involved.”

Paw Patrol is an animated TV programme that is broadcast on Nickelodeon and is popular with kids and features six rescue dogs.

But they did not say whether or not the product would be withdrawn from sale.

You can buy the bath foam at a range of high street shops.

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Urgent appeal takes 2 seconds to share to help find missing teen from York

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Please share this picture far and wide in hope that we can bring this 13-year-old back home . It only takes one person who shares this to spot her and be that’s difference

North Yorkshire Police is urgently appealing for information to help find a missing 13-year-old girl from York.

Elise Donoghue was last seen leaving her drama class at the York Theatre Royal on St Leonard’s Place just before 8pm on 19 October.

It’s thought Elise is without money or access to a mobile phone, and she is considered vulnerable due to her age.

Police enquiries have been ongoing to locate in York where it is known she has connections in the Fulford and Danesgate areas of the city.

There is also a possibility she headed to York Railway Station and boarded a train heading towards the north-west where she has friends in the Cheshire area. British Transport Police is assisting with enquiries.

Elise is described as white, 5ft 2in tall, blonde hair with a medium build. When she was seen she was wearing a grey hooded -top, black leggings, black Ugg boots and she carrying a shoulder bag.

Anyone who knows where Elise is or have seen a girl matching her description, please call North Yorkshire Police as a matter of urgency on 101, select option 1, and speak to the Force Control Room. Please quote reference number 12170187979.

If Elise you are reading this there is help and support available simply call or text 116000 they will be able to help you free and confidential.

Anyone who is currently missing from home Missing people are here to help you whenever you are ready; they can listen, talk you through what help you need, pass a message for you and help you to be safe. Call. Text. Anytime. Free. Confidential. 116000

They are also on hand to provide support for anyone who has been recently returned home having been missing.

 

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