Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner wants to see hate messages made online to be treated as a crime, as they are in real life.
Kathryn Holloway has lent her support to a campaign led by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which has issued new guidance to prosecutors saying that tweeting abuse can be as ‘equally devastating’ as it is said in person.
Commissioner Holloway said: “It is appalling that some people feel, when they get behind a computer screen, that they can deliver vile, abusive comments about a person’s race, religion, sexuality or physical appearance which, if said to the victim directly, would constitute hate crime.
“There is real cowardice in mounting a hate crime campaign against an individual or group just because it can be done anonymously.
“Bedfordshire Police takes hate crime incredibly seriously, which is why it has its own hate crime lead and a success rate in prosecutions in over 80 per cent.”
The move from the CPS to target online hate abuse more seriously follows a spike in internet hate crime following recent terrorist attacks in the country.
Ms Holloway added: “It’s necessary for Bedfordshire Police to support the community in relation to hate crime.
“Reports of Islamophobia rose in the aftermath of these events.
“There is absolute ignorance blaming an entire community for the actions of a radical minority.”