A man has been arrested and bailed following the setting up of an offensive Facebook page hailing the killer of PCs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes a hero.
Those of us in the blogosphere are well-accustomed to people who think they can post comments that cause real distress to bereaved families, as well as verging on incitement to murder in some cases. That said, the best way of handling these people is simply to remove their content, or ignore it. Nobody has to follow a Twitter thread or log onto a Facebook page if they don't want to. So I am not sure how I feel about the above arrest, though I did not read the content myself to assess its criminal nature.
At some stage an international manifesto will be laid down, as to how best to deal with those who cause genuine distress or incite real life crime via the internet. Until then bloggers will deal with the issue of trolls in their own way.
In the meantime, the IPCC appears to have chosen a particularly bizarre time to publish their report on sexual misdemeanour within the police. They bemoan the vast figure of 54 cases of "sexual assault or exploitation", but the report was largely swallowed up by the outpouring of grief and sympathy for the two policewomen killed on Tuesday.
I have a few issues with the report: namely that they lump sexual assault in with exploitation, when by the latter what they mean is officers who have pursued a relationship with someone they met in the course of their work. The article is very unclear, some of these cases appear clearly inappropriate such as an officer using police systems to check up on nearly 200 women - one assumes with a view to some sort of move on them. But it may also include single officers who happen to meet someone they deal with as a burglary victim. I am definitely NOT advocating that officers try to date anyone they have dealt with in this way, but it's far from exploitation in every case. The IPCC is also unclear on how many of the allegations were proven unfounded, or how many were undecided either way, and whether this figure includes those (I can only imagine not). In any event, I hardly think that 54 cases in five years can be considered an endemic problem, and if it were so important, why bring this out on a day when not a single paper has given it more than a passing nod? This will only serve to bolster feeling by both police and public alike, that the IPCC has completely lost its credibility.
PS Avid followers of this blog might want to buy The Sunday Telegraph this weekend. They could do with selling an extra copy.
'Diary of an On-Call Girl' is available in some bookstores and online.