We don't need new laws to deal with trolls posting abuse on Twitter. That's according to a spokesperson for the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), The Guardian reports.
Stuart Hyde, chief constable of Cumbria, was questioned by BBC Radio 4's Today Programme this morning, in light of a spate of recent Twitter abuse cases, including remarks levelled at Olympic diver Tom Daley and the footballer Fabrice Muamba.
Hyde said it was correct for police to intervene, but that a common sense approach was enough, rather than legislating. Asked if new laws were needed, he said: "No, I think we've got quite a lot of legislation, dating back to the Malicious Communications Acts of 1998 and 2003. There is a lot there that helps us and gives us the power to do stuff.
He said while the legislation wasn't created to deal with social media, "it works reasonably well most of the time".
Hyde added that he didn't want officers "dragged off the streets to deal with frivolous complaints", and that it was important to look at tweets in context. "Look at what the individual has done: is this a concerted attempt to have a go at one individual in a way that passes the threshold for offences against the law? If it is, then clearly we should intervene and do something to stop it."
Twitter should take action against offenders, according to Hyde.
A representative for the Police Federation told Today that police resources were "stretched almost to breaking point", and that they couldn't be expected to investigate "every instance of stupidity within Twitter".
This week, police issued a warning to a 17-year-old who sent abusive tweets to Olympic diver Tom Daley. Back in March, a 21-year-old student was jailed for 56 days for tweeting racist abuse aimed at Fabrice Muamba, while the footballer suffered a cardiac arrest during a game.
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