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Police to focus on only 'most serious' social media offences

Chief Constable Andy Trotter, the lead on communications for the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), said:

Many offensive comments are made every day on social media and guidance will assist the police to focus on the most serious matters.

There is not only the matter of principle to be addressed but also the practicality of dealing with thousands of potential offences.


DPP: time has come for debate over free speech in social media

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Keir Starmer has said "the time has come for an informed debate about the boundaries of free speech in an age of social media".

Keir Starmer QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). Credit: Lewis Whyld/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Starmer said that new guidelines were needed because this was just one of a growing number of such cases and there were likely to be many more.

He added: "Social media is a new and emerging phenomenon raising difficult issues of principle, which have to be confronted not only by prosecutors but also by others including the police, the courts and service providers."

Mr Starmer will hold a series of round-table meetings with campaigners, media lawyers, academics, social media experts and law enforcement bodies next month before the interim guidelines are published.

CPS rules against prosecution over offensive remarks about Tom Daley

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has ruled out prosecuting the man who posted offensive remarks on Twitter about 18-year-old Olympic diver Tom Daley.

In a statement, the CPS said:

“This was, in essence, a one-off offensive Twitter message, intended for family and friends, which made its way into the public domain.

"It was not intended to reach Mr Daley or Mr Waterfield, it was not part of a campaign, it was not intended to incite others and Mr Thomas removed it reasonably swiftly and has expressed remorse."

Olympic diver Tom Daley. Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The statement continued: "Chief Crown Prosecutor for Wales, Jim Brisbane concluded that on a full analysis of the context and circumstances in which this single message was sent, it was not so grossly offensive that criminal charges need to be brought.

“Before reaching a final decision in this case, Mr Daley and Mr Waterfield were consulted by the CPS and both indicated that they did not think this case needed a prosecution."