Police forces need to be better at dealing with online abuse, according to Essex Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh, who is the national police chief's lead on digital crime.
According to The Guardian on Radio 4 this morning he admitted that crimes like sexting, revenge pornography and racist/homophobic trolling have been handled in an "inconsistent" manner:
"They [victims] turn up at a police front counter or ring in and because of the variety of legislation and because of how quickly things are moving quite frankly they are getting an inconsistent response and that undermines their confidence", he said, adding that "I don’t think there is one of the forces across the UK who think we have got this right at the moment."
The problems are two-fold, in his view. First off, currently the law is based on around 30 pieces of legislation including the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act, and the now 30 year old Computer Misuse Act - something which obviously sounds as though it needs updating. The other problem - and one that is likely to provoke huge debate if it is acted on - is the question of the threshold at which the police start wading into an online discussion:
"It’s a high threshold at the moment about the level of fear, about the level of harm that’s being conducted, and I think that causes concern for some victims groups", he told the Graun last month. [The Guardian]