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Police criticised for giving verbal warnings to gay hate Twitter users

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  1. The tweets were no doubt despicable and disgusting, and if they contained direct threats they should be treated seriously by the police. Absent any threats, why are the police involved? It’s a big world out here and you can’t force people to believe as you’d like. You can, however, block the offensive asses. It can really suck to be treated like this. I know, I’m a lesbian. But you don’t have to stand up and make yourself a target. I know Twitter is not a civil right in the U.S., and I doubt it is in the U.K. either. Turn the damn thing off! In the U.S. you don’t have a civil right not to be offended, why would it be any different in the U.K.?

    1. It’s not just the UK. The United Nations has actually passed resolutions supporting laws like this. I’m so glad we have our 1st amendment because without it there is no telling what kind of laws we’d have by now. Restricting speech stops dialogue. I’d much rather tell someone why they are wrong than to have them sit in silence not having a clue.

  2. The victim asked for community resolution so they cautioned the boys. What does it then have to do with Chris Cooke?

    Does he think he should have more of a say than the woman who received the tweets?

    They are 15 and 16 they shouldn’t be given a criminal record for twitter crimes.

    1. Sister Mary Clarence 23 Aug 2012, 11:01am

      Why shouldn’t they get a criminal record?

      At 15 do you not think someone should know the difference between right and wrong?

      If it was a 15 year old kicking a pensioner to death and robbing them, would you be saying they shouldn’t get a criminal record?

      If there did get a criminal record, it would probably deter a few other 15 and 16 year olds from doing anything similar.

      My view would also be that at 15 and 16 if they haven’t learned that homophobic abuse is wrong, they probably aren’t going to learn it any time soon.

      At what point do you suggest society starts to take any sort of serious corrective action?

      1. Spanner1960 23 Aug 2012, 6:28pm

        Oh there you go. Straw man BS
        Siince when was tweeting an insult comparable to kicking a pensioner to death. Get a bit of fcking perspective!

        What they did was wrong, but there are degrees of wrong.
        Stop viewing everything in black and white just because you find something personally offensive.

  3. The idea of hate speech being punishable by law is so ridiculous. The only speech that should be unlawful is inciting violence, threats, libel, and “disorderly conduct/disturbing the peace”. I’m honestly surprised there isn’t a big movement in the UK to get rid of this dumb ass law.

    1. I couldn’t agree with you more; surely unless people are allowed to speak out then how can they be argued with.
      Nobody has a right not to be offended.

    2. Spanner1960 23 Aug 2012, 6:31pm

      Oh, so people like the Westboro Baptist Church can wave placards outside servicemen’s funerals? They incite violence in my opinion. If that happened at a funeral of somebody I knew, I’d hang them from a lamp post.

  4. It is certainly a tough one!

    I do agree with Chris Cooke that were the tweets of a racist nature then there would definitely have been arrests yet homophobic comments still seem to be acceptable.

    On the other hand, I also agree with the police in that for a sake of a few seconds stupidity, these kids would be left with a criminal record. But at the same time a slap on the wrist is surely not deterrent enough?

    1. Why saddle a youngster with a criminal record that despite the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act would be open be found out, for life.
      Education and a proper discussion with them is surely better in order to find out what they think.

      1. Sister Mary Clarence 23 Aug 2012, 11:08am

        Surely they have already had a minimum to 10 years of education already – how many more would you suggest we give them before they get the hang of it?

        In that time they have certainly ‘learned’ homophobic abuse. Why didn’t they pick up ‘common decency’ in that time?

        Actions have consequences and we don’t help anyone learn responsibility for their actions by failing to teach them properly.

        Everyone was horrified recently by the guy that committed suicide after his room mate at college in the States filmed him having sex with a guy – a perfect example of a young kid acting without thought for the damage and hurt it would cause another human being.

        1. Spanner1960 23 Aug 2012, 6:35pm

          If somebody were to have sex with these people, they would be charged with rape and put on a sex offenders register for corrupting a minor. You cannot have it both ways, either they are adults or they are not. I know people in their twenties that have brains the size of a Brussels Sprout, so education doesn’t even come into it. Hopefully having a copper knock at your front door is enough to scare the crap out of these kids so they don’t do it again.

          1. Lest we forget, the very act of using Twitter itself and limiting oneself to a maximum of 140 syllables is likely to reduce one’s brain to the size of a walnut.

            And I wager science will imminently reveal studies showing that those in long-term solitary isolation in Facebook world fare only slightly better, with brains the size of brazil nuts.

            Grindr? Peanuts, at a push.

  5. Dave Peterson 23 Aug 2012, 10:23am

    Gaylord bastard police!

    1. Spanner1960 23 Aug 2012, 6:37pm

      So who will you be running to when so homophobe kicks seven bells of crap out of you in the street?

  6. The police involving themselves to this level is heavy-handed and disproportionate in the extreme to the so-called “crime” in question.

    If you open a Twitter, Facebook or any social media account, you expose yourself to the whole world and all of the love and hate that comes with it.

    It is therefore down to the user to take responsibility for that decision, and to face the fact that the world is full of courteous people but also those that derive power spewing hate and bile.

    If you’re unable to develop a thick skin and accept the bad along with the good, for heaven’s sake get off Twitter and FB and develop social interaction with the REAL world, where you have control over who you let into your life and social space.

    Why should the police be monitoring Twitter to protect your sensibilities and feelings when no longer respond to offences such as thefts and robberies citing lack of numbers?

    Basically, if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen and get a real life!

    1. At the risk of starting war again. What options do you think the police have available to them when someone reports a crime, more specifically one motivated by hate (whether religious/sexual orientation/race?)? I’ll give you a clue in that the police have received bad press in the past for not giving a toss about hate crime, now the police are doing something about it they are being criticised about being heavy handed.

      If the someone reported being the victim of some sort of malicious comms offence with a homophobic hate element do you really think it is an appropriate response from the police to “you sign up for this you must expect it”? Not saying that has not been said in the past but if I said that to a victim I would get the sack.

      There are a handful of options available to the police, in this case it appears to be some sort of restorative justice which is agreed between the victim and the suspect – why is it anyone elses business, the victim is happy and has agreed this.

      1. and the options are (as long as there is enough evidence)

        1) Restorative justice/community resolution
        2) Youth Reprimand
        3) Youth Final Warning
        4) Charge/Summons for court

        You can go straight for 4 if you deny it and there is enough evidence, the options below that rely on the offenders early admission, other than that you generally go 2, 3 and then 4 if you carry on offending. There is no such thing as a criminal record but everything except for option 1 (which can still cause you problems on an enhanced CRB check) will cause you problems with employment.

        Sometimes the police can’t win (maybe I should resign myself to that conclusion).

        1. David Myers 24 Aug 2012, 8:47am

          Very good analysis and suggestions.

      2. Did you even bother reading my post?

        If so then you clearly have no sense of proportion.

        If you choose to pursue a social life in cyberspace then jolly well take responsibility for the fact that you expose yourself to anyone and everyone of a similar disposition.

        And I would conjecture that many of that ilk do so for the very reason that they find real-life social interaction awkward or prefer to hide behind an illusion, or are socially insecure and get a buzz each time they accumulate a new, er, “friend”.

        By Its very nature online social networking sites are likely to attract a greater proportion of odd types and downright loonies than exist in society as a whole, and those who derive power tweeting bile when they would never dream of saying the same thing to someone’s face.

        Go blubbing to a PC PC if you must play the victim card but remember that’s one copper around to do what he should really be doing:- protecting us from serious crime like mugging, bashing, burglary and worse.

        1. And for the record, I do not twitter, I have never logged onto Facebook or walked zombie-like headlong into a lamppost because I am surgically attached to my smartphone, completely unaware of my environment around me and lack total respect for others sharing the same stretch of pavement as myself, forcing them to duck and dive because I am too selfish to look ahead at where I am going instead of twittering imbecilically to all and sunder…

  7. This is a story relating to the UK.

    At the moment 6 out 10 Pink News frontpage stories are US stories.

    Is Pink News now a specifically US site?

    Some of the stories are massively dull and irrelevant for a UK audience.

    1. Katie Kool-eyes 23 Aug 2012, 1:11pm

      If you find them dull, then don’t bloody read them!

  8. Pete Hubert 23 Aug 2012, 4:12pm

    Hate is Hate.
    Hate Leads to War.
    Arrest the thugs.
    Send them to jail
    Before it gets out of

    1. Spanner1960 23 Aug 2012, 6:39pm

      Thank you Yoda.

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