After Three Separate Terror Attacks in U.K., Local Police Focus on Social Media Comments

The United Kingdom has been rocked by three separate Islamist terror attacks in as many months. Prime Minister Theresa May seems to have gotten the message and has demanded changes.

Yet, it appears that local police departments still haven’t. The Cheshire Police Department recently shared a status on Facebook, mere days after the latest Islamist terror attack, that drew the ire of thousands of Englishmen. The department warned about social media postings that could be considered hate speech which rang particularly tone deaf considering pressing matters. According to recent reports, there could be as many as 3,000 Islamist terrorists on the streets of the U.K. at this very moment.

Despite that, the Cheshire Police Department posted the following on their Facebook page less than a week after the London attack:

We would remind all social media users to think carefully about what they are saying before posting messages online. Although you may believe your message is acceptable, other people may take offence, and you could face a large fine or up to two years in prison if your message is deemed to have broken the law.

The department doubled down in a subsequent comment after the initial post was shared thousands of times and received thousands more comments:

We can see that this has prompted a lot of discussion and we want to clarify our guidance. Whilst we are aware social media is a good platform for discussing issues, there can sometimes come a point that it is no longer a conversation and instead comments can be classed as a form of hate crime.

Hate crime can be committed when someone uses threatening words or behaviour or publications such as social media, which are intended or likely to encourage hatred towards other people.

Currently, the law covers the targeting of people in this way on the basis of race/ethnicity, religion, disability, gender identity or sexual orientation. These crimes are about more than just showing hostility to one person, but about stirring up hatred against a whole group of people, regardless of what platform you use.

It appears that incompetence like this is what has been distracting local police departments from investigating suspected terrorists. One of the London attackers, Salman Abedi, was reported to have been known to U.K. security services “up to a point”. Apparently, the police were too busy warning about potential “hate speech” to be bothered to follow up on that lead. Violating the free speech rights of their citizens was of a greater importance at the time.

This lack of prioritization has lead to 34 people dead and more than 213 people injured in less than three months. Prime Minister Theresa May hasn’t provided many details about the changes she’s demanding, but abandoning politically correct policing should be the top priority. Police have no business monitoring for so-called hate speech; especially not under these circumstances.

Wilson most recently served as the Director of Social Media on the presidential campaign of Gary Johnson and Bill Weld.
He started in politics by founding the political advocacy organization A Libertarian Future after the 2012 presidential election. Its Facebook page now reaches tens of millions of people a month, and the website received more than 10 million pageviews in three years.
Wilson has also launched a successful digital marketing firm with a range of domestic and international clients. After living in Europe intermittently throughout college, he currently resides in California – strictly for the climate.

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