Online hate crime unit launched to tackle rise in cases


London mayor Sadiq Khan has launched a new Scotland Yard police unit which will investigate online hate crime.

The first of its kind scheme in the UK, will gather intelligence on online abusers on sites such as Twitter and Facebook as well as improving support for victims.

The five strong £1.7million unit will be partially funded by the Home Office to tackle the rise in online hate crimes.

Currently only between two and five per cent of hate crimes reported to the Met are online, however community groups say the number of offences are hugely under reported and may be much higher.

Tell MAMA, which measures Islamaphobic hate offences, estimates that over 70 per cent of the reports it receives are online cases.

Khan said: “We know hate crime has a huge impact on those who experience it, and that online hate, where abusers mistakenly believe they are hidden behind a screen, can be particularly damaging.

“My approach is clear: there must be zero tolerance of this behaviour, and we are working to improve protection for victims by taking advice from anti-hate organisations, who will examine whether something is actively causing harm and should be removed.”

The so-called OnLine Hate Crime Hub will gather intelligence on Twitter trolls and other abusers and hand cases to borough police officers to investigate.

Anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller said she faced repeated abuse online, including threats that she would be “the next Jo Cox,” the MP murdered by an extremist fanatic. The Met said they had made several arrests.