The Home Office has set up the hub to track down and prosecute web users for causing offence on social media. UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd said on Saturday: “Online hate crime was completely unacceptable.
“What is illegal offline is illegal online, and those who commit these cowardly crimes should be met with the full force of the law. The national online hate crime hub that we are funding is an important step to ensure more victims have the confidence to come forward and report the vile abuse to which they are being subjected.”
The team of officers will be acting on reports of perceived abuse made to the police’s True Vision “hate crime” platform. The same platform was used by anti-conservative campaigners to claim Brexit had caused a wave of “hate crimes” against Muslims.
The large amount of resources they dedicate to policing hate crime is staggering, with more than 900 specialist members of staff dedicated to investigating all hate crimes.
The police will also contact tech firms to demand that “hate speech” – a vague term – is deleted from the internet, the Mail on Sunday reported. Last year, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) confirmed that no evidence was needed to bring a criminal complaint against someone for a “hate crime”, as “reporting … is subjective and is based on the perception of the victim”.
“In order to treat a crime as a hate crime for the purposes of investigation, there is no need for evidence to prove the aggravating element,” the guidelines added.
“Hate crimes” receive harsher sentences than other crimes, and “aggravating” factors are often equally vague, such as the definition of “transphobia”.
Last year, the London mayor’s office for policing and crime – Mopac – announced it would be spending almost two million pounds on policing speech online after applying for a grant from the Home Office.
Sadiq Khan’s office promised to set up a police “online hate crime hub” to work in “partnership with social media providers” to criminalise “trolls” who “target … individuals and communities”.
The news came as London Mayor Khan told Piers Morgan in an interview in June that London’s police did not have enough resources to monitor the jihadists returning to the United Kingdom from Syria and Iraq.
The EU’s justice commissioner, Vera Jourova, a former Czech minister, has personally been targeted by trolls, she told a news conference in Brussels last month.
However, she said living behind the iron curtain she remained hesitant about such legislation. “My background is from the communist regime and we have a fantastic achievement, freedom of speech, here … I don’t like this running to the internet, and we politicians blaming the internet for all our problems. It’s not like that,” she said.
Jourova said she would also resist any suggestions that the EU should tackle “fake news” for fear of becoming a “European ministry for truth”.