‘Hit man’ threatening Suffolk Pokémon group among social media crimes recorded by police

A 'hit man' threatening to kill members of a Facebook Pok�mon group was one of more than 500 social

A 'hit man' threatening to kill members of a Facebook Pok�mon group was one of more than 500 social media crimes recorded by Suffolk police in 2019 Picture: MARCOS CALVO/GETTY IMAGES/iSTOCKPHOTO - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Malicious messages and a Facebook group threatened by someone claiming to be a hit man are just some of the crimes reported as social media abuse rose again.

Suffolk police recorded 592 cases of harassment and stalking across the major social media platforms last year – a rise of 37 on the previous year.

The rise is small in comparison to the rise of 2016 to 2017, where recorded cases skyrocketed from 124 to 406, according to a Freedom of Information request, but police have insisted they will continue to crackdown on those who break the law.

Among the most recent reports made were claims of abusive or malicious messaging and blackmail, while others included stabbing threats – and one case of a Pokémon Facebook group being threatened by someone claiming to be a hit man with an M16 gun and grenades.

However despite the vast number of cases being recorded, detective chief superintendent Eamonn Bridger said the increase could in fact be due to an improvement in recording standards at the constabulary.

Det ch supt Bridger also questioned why people feel being behind a screen allows them to commit such acts of abuse.

Mr Bridger added: “There have been a number of high profile cases which have changed attitudes as to what is acceptable online.

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“Digital platforms play a huge role in our jobs, it is part of the job that wasn’t required when I joined the police 20 years ago.”

Elsewhere, the constabulary also received two reports of stalking via the dating app Tinder over the past two years, including one person making unsolicited visits to a victim’s house to pursue a relationship.

Suffolk police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore added: “Technology is a great enabler to keep us in touch with our friends and family and the latest news, which is proving a life-line to many in this present environment.

“However there is also a darker side to social media and it is sad that so many people find themselves falling victim to stalking and harassment online.

“I would urge everyone to take some time to consider how they can protect themselves on-line and I know there is useful advice on the constabulary’s website. And to anyone who has fallen victim to online harassment I would urge them to report to the police.”

Further information on how to stay safe online can be found here.

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