The city of London will soon be sending police squads after social media users who post purportedly abusive or hateful content on Facebook or Twitter, the BBC reports.
“A new team of specialist police officers is being set up to investigate online hate crimes, including abuse on Twitter and Facebook,” according to the report.
Costing more than £1.7 million ($2.2 million), the London Mayor’s office’s plans will push “zero tolerance” for abuse, adding platforms such as Facebook and Twitter that “provides hate crime perpetrators with a veil of anonymity, making it harder to bring them to justice and potentially impacting on a larger number of people.”
When it starts, the team will consist of five officers dedicated to it “who will support victims and identify online abuse.” There will also be volunteers who will help “identify the location of crimes and allocate them to the appropriate force.”
According to the BBC, “The team will also assist in training police officers and community groups in how to identify, report and challenge abuse.”
A spokesman for the Mayor’s office said this step was necessary because “Community groups in London have told us that online hate crime is an issue of increasing concern to them, and one for which the police response has in the past been inconsistent.”