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Call for policing guidance after Tom Daley gay hate and death threat tweets

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  1. Blimey. I’m glad my Twitter account gathered dust almost immediately after being opened, if this is the level of interchange that can go on.

    Disappointing to see that ‘gay’ as an insult seems to be thriving.

    1. All those I converse with on Twitter seem to be like-minded persons who don’t resort to such abuse. What the “Riley” thing opened my eyes to was that there are plenty of people around who are willing to spew such bile and hatred from behind a computer/mobile phone screen. I have to admit I was taken by surprise at the sheer violence this kid and others were advocating.
      I am unsure as to whether it can be regulated; as the recent Paul Chambers (Nottingham Airport Tweet) showed us. What offends one person may not offend another. Clearly however, the behaviour of riley and his friends was, imho, crossing a line.

  2. he brought all on himself – he doesn’t have the right to play the victim.

    1. I take it you’re referring to Reece Messer and not Tom Daley?

    2. Staircase2 2 Aug 2012, 2:15am

      I’m not sure how someone homophobic abuse is ok just because it’s being directed at someone who’s been behaving like and idiot…

      Aside from anything else Reece is still a bloody child for fcvks sake…he’s only 17…

      I really do worry about the ethics about people who post on here sometimes…

      1. 17 is hardly a child anymore, stop mollycoddling him. He decided to act like an arsehole and he got a taste of his own medicine en mass. perhaps he will think before tweeting next time.

      2. 17 is hardly a child, now he has had a taste of his own medicine en mass perhaps he won’t do it again and engage his brain before tweeting.

  3. ‘Make it up as they go along’

    Thats twitter!

  4. “You do not have to tweet anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not tweet when questioned something which you later tweet in court. Anything you do tweet may be tweeted in evidence.” !


  5. Interesting how Messer gets a police investigation, but a rich footballer can claim it was “someone hacked my account” or something similiar and completely get away with it. But thats another topic!

    Abuse is abuse, whatever its form. What i dont get is with all these high profile Twitter racial slurs and abuse cases in the media the last 6 months or so, you would think people would stop doing it!

    Tom, you represented your country brilliantly, well done.

    1. Doubt a Port Talbot footballer will be rich!

    2. Staircase2 2 Aug 2012, 2:18am

      I doubt as a semi-professional he would be considered to be ‘rich’…lol

    The message quoted
    “At one point he sent another user a tweet saying: “i’m going to find you and i’m going to drown you in the pool you cocky twat your a nobody people like you make me sick.””
    Was sent as a tweet addressed to Tom Daley

  7. “We can’t have a free-for-all online but by the same token we cannot involve the police every time something unpleasant is said.
    This seems like a good opportunity to set an example as it is so high profile. Homophobic tweets need to be treated the same as racist ones.

  8. It’s about time the police got their act together when it comes to dealing with ‘cyber’ abuse as well as mobile text message abuse do I welcome the call for guidance. I had a series of abusive voice mails and texts threatening to find my family and rape them, threatening me etc etc and the police did nothing because the person responsible had not physically hurt me. They even closed the case without telling me. I wonder if I was a straight girl or famous if I would have received a better service.

    1. * so I welcome the call not ‘do’

      1. Agreed. I had someone on Facebook saying they were going to hunt me down and kill me because I’m gay but when I reported it to the police they said that they couldn’t investigate because Facebook was blocked for the police service!

        1. jamesh

          That sounds like a police officer who either did not know what they were talking about, being lazy or who did not want to act for other reasons.

          There are several high profile police investigations in the UK that include Facebook including:

          Murder of Ashleigh Hall by Peter Chapman

          Sean Duffy who trolled about dead people and was successfully convicted and imprisoned

          Clearly, facebook can and will co-operate with police. Indeed the DPA requires them to co-operate if an appropriately authorised requirement is made to them. Successful convictions show that they will.

          Sounds like you have a case to raise concerns with the police! It sounds like a possible neglect of duty (under their misconduct code) and possibly (depending on circumstances) a criminal misconduct in a public office.

          1. All my experiences with the police over 40 years have been negative. I don’t think its just due to ‘rogue’ offices, I think its endemic in the police ‘service.’

            I wouldn’t even dream about complaining about them – I know someone in south London who was beaten-up by the very police he had made a complaint about, for making the complaint. They’re completely out of control!

          2. I know you would expect me to say this jamesh, but thats not my experience either as a victim of crime or when I was a police officer.

            A complaint does not have to be made to police there are various independent means by which to complain.

            The comment about not being able to investigate facebook that you refer to is completely untrue, however. I did not hav reason to seek evidence from facebook when in the police – but I did from a number of other websites including hotmail, yahoo and gaydar – without any significant issues being raised. Most of the cases resulted in conviction.

          3. Unfortunately as an ex-pig I do expect you to say that. I would suggest you were living in some sort of gay-bubble in the police. They must have treated you with kid-gloves in case you would sue them for homophobia! Even GALOP was never got back to me when I complained to them. Stu, you are just not representative of the normal rank and file coppers.

          4. I do not talk as I have said merely of my practice, but that which I witnessed by ex-colleagues. I also talk of my experience as a gay victim of crime (where 2 police forces, not the one I worked for, treated me with respect, dignity and investigated thoroughly).

            Its not your experience, thats fine – but your experience is also not everyones.

            It does not change the comment I made about Facebook and the failures by the police that you raised. They won’t be addressed if they are not complained about.

  9. I think this is a slippery slope. I would hope the law doesn’t get too involved with internet insults generally.

    Free speech is at stake. Fair enough, that guy deserved to be arrested due to threats made/continuous abuse. But as for that footballer, I’m not even sure why it made the news. He’s just some asshole expressing his hatred, let him get on with it. Offensive, yes. A crime, no.

    1. I certainly don’t want to live in a society where being racist or homophobic is accepted due to “freedom of speech”. Have you never heard that exercising of freedoms requires responsibility?

      1. I don’t think it should be accepted. But there’s a clear distinction between being acceptable and being legal.

        People should be allowed to express their opinions. Provided the law protects people from harassment (prolonged) and everyone has fair and equal rights, then things are ok in my opinion.

        Some people are bigots. There’s no escaping it. But I actually think it’s better if people can express homophobia/racism, so that it can be challenged in debate. You can’t legislate against hatred.

        1. bigots don’t want a “debate” they want everyone to be consumed with the same hatred as themself and want it to be the norm to oppress others.

    2. Spanner1960 2 Aug 2012, 1:09pm

      I totally agree.
      Our police have better things to do with their time than go chasing after offensive little twats that just want to upset people.

    3. Lee, free speech has long been circumscribed, by laws of slander and libel. If someone accused you of a crime on Twitter, are you sure you would dismiss it in the interests of freedom of expression? Even if it affected your job / career prospects?

  10. Staircase2 2 Aug 2012, 2:10am

    The thing that no one ever seems to tak about in cases like this is the fact that Twitter itself almost universally ignores these kinds of abusive messages.

    If the Police want to stop this kind of abuse spiralling out of contour the they would be ensuring that Twitter plays its part.

    Currently it’s really hard to getbTwitternto do anything and only the high profile cases are getting any legal attention.

    Twitter is a fantastic forum for global interaction but it’s currently very much a lawless one. It’s high time this was remedied.

    1. Spanner1960 2 Aug 2012, 6:09pm

      Why should everything be policed, controlled, monitored, censored, checked and ratified? The real world isn’t like that either. If you don’t like the idea that you might see something you don’t wish to read, don’t sign up to the fcking thing in the first place.

      It’s about time you namby-pamby liberals stopped trying to nanny everyone, and just let things happen.

  11. Staircase2 2 Aug 2012, 2:13am

    I think it’s shocking that people seem to be saying that the idiot who posted the abusive message to Tom Daley somehow deserved the onslaught of homophobic abuse he in turn endured.

  12. Omar Khalifa 2 Aug 2012, 9:24am

    Eventually the police will get tired of locking up people over twitter comments. In the meantime ”lei ho ma” Welcome to China!!!

  13. I think you keep writing articles on this just as an excuse to show pictures of Tom Daley topless.

    1. Spanner1960 2 Aug 2012, 6:12pm

      Do I hear anybody complaining? ;)

      1. John MSINMD 8 Aug 2012, 1:41pm

        Just so you know, there are only two shots from gay porn in that list, but the others could possibly qualify. :-)

  14. Other sources are quoting his father:

    Reece’s family protested that he is a drop-out who has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and ‘needs help not punishment’.

    “he started going to school, insulting the other children, saying things like “Your mum’s a prostitute” to the other little boys. After that there were other problems in school. He’s just gone off the rails. He suffers from ADHD. But he won’t take his medication.”

    1. Marcwebbo3 2 Aug 2012, 11:53am

      If he wont take his medicine then surely it is up to his parents to make sure he does so he doesnt get into trouble.

      There really is no excuse for racist or homophobic behaviour.

      1. He doesn’t live with his parents. Are they really responsible if he has left home?!

        And there is an excuse for “racist or homophobic behaviour” if you are ill. There’s even an excuse for murder if you’re ill!

        1. Well, if not his parents then whoever is responsible for this 17yo boy, then.

    2. if he won’t take his medicine then 136 him.

  15. Great caller here on LBC the other night.

    She is totally right. The police have better things to do then deal with Twitter (and homosexuals) who have got their knickers in a twist because someone says something they don’t like.

    1. I would imagine a complaint needs to be made for an arrest to occur.

      I wonder who has made that complaint Aiden?

    2. Oh “Aiden” you prize moron you. If this was just case of some homosexuals getting their knickers in a twist about something being said they don’t like then you’d have been lifted a long time ago. I think the police might have taken action for a bit more than that no?

  16. If it’s homophobic or racist then yes, it’s criminal. If it happens over and over again, then yep that does sound like harassment.

    But one night of nasty tweets = an arrest-able offence? Doesn’t sound right to me.

    He should just have had his twitter account deleted by Twitter.

    1. depends, if he sent multiple tweets then thats harassment.

  17. “one night of nasty tweets”

    “If it happens over and over again, then yep that does sound like harassment. ”


  18. I see that the fight against using “Gay” as a slur is winning…. >_>;

  19. Shira Lansys 2 Aug 2012, 4:10pm

    This is the modern day difference between freedom of speech and hate speech. Saying that homosexuality is wrong is an opinon (a horrible one, but just an opinion). Threatening to drown someone in a pool or kill someone’s family should be treated as it would be if it were said in person – with a criminal investigation.

    @Stu: While it’s lovely to know that the police don’t just let people who drive innocents to suicide slip through the grasp of the law, I think it says a lot that it got to that point before the police could/would take action.

    1. The case I referred to above re Sean Duffy – the evidence was that his conduct occurred AFTER the suicide and he was harassing the family who were bereaved. There was no evidence to link him to the suicide (that I have been able to uncover in the media reports). Both forms of harassment are juvenile and disgusting. It would be interesting to know what the circumstances were that lead to the suicide and whether police action could have helped to ameliorate the concerns that the victim had. However, whilst I agree the police need to have more consistency in how they tackle these issues – in this case I am not convinced their action against Duffy could have been taken earlier.

  20. John MSINMD 8 Aug 2012, 2:09pm

    We’ve learned; however, that names DO hurt you and these acts when you are an adult are now hate crimes. Just like the Hockey Dad in Massachusetts who though that he would settle a disagreement with another Dad like he did on the playground and beat the other Dad to death. Bullies! When you’re a bully in school, you grow up to be a bully! It might not be constant, but it’s there for sure.

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