Police are being 'swamped' by a massive increase in online crime and require new legislation to tackle the problem, a top chief constable has warned.
Stephen Kavanagh, Chief Constable of Essex Police is also the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead on Digital Intelligence and Investigation. He has warned the current legislation is hampering the investigation of online crime.
Cyber crime, which can include online bullying, child grooming, revenge porn and phishing is covered by legislation which pre-dates social media and the internet, including the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act which dates from the time of Queen Victoria.So do the laws against murder. So what? It's either an offence or it isn't.
Much of the legislation, such as laws dealing with malicious communication were designed to cope with the threat of 'silent' or 'menacing' phone calls.
Kavanagh told The Guardian: 'There are crimes now taking place – the malicious use of intimate photographs for example – which we never would have imagined as an offence when I was a PC in the 80s. It’s not just the nature of it, it is the sheer volume.Well, if you 'never would have imagined it would be an offence', maybe it isn't?
'The levels of abuse that now take place within the internet are on a level we never really expected. If we did try to deal with all of it we would clearly be swamped.'So you're selective in which reports you tackle, are you? How very interesting!
He said urgent action was required to simplify the laws concerning online crime to assist in prosecuting offenders while providing help to victims.You mean to assist the 'modern' police officer in ensuring that politically correct identity groups are satisfied?
He said: 'Often victims don’t know how to articulate what happened to them, they aren’t clear what the offence is if there is one. When they then get an ambiguous response from the police, it undermines their confidence about what has happened. It is not just about officers and staff being confident, it is about victims being confident that what has taken place is a crime. So the law needs to be pulled together and the powers consolidated into a single place.'Look, if victims AND police aren't clear that what happened was a crime, perhaps it wasn't. And perhaps the police should have more important things to be doing than trying to 'convince victims' that what upset them was indeed a crime.
Because not everything that hurts our feels is indeed a crime, nor should be treated as such.
But, if that is the path we're being driven down by an increasingly incompetent police force, I want to be able to report the next grocer's apostrophe. That should be a crime, damn it!