Nabila Ramdani reported Twitter abuse to Police but was told the case would be dropped.
Picture: Nabina Ramdani. Andy Hall for the Observer
Journalist Nabila Ramdani received a stream of abuse via Twitter, which contained racist and misogynistic slurs. She details her story in an article for the Observer and speaks of her negative experience when reporting this to the police:
"In short, [Detective Sergeant] Worthington did not believe that the 1988 Malicious Communications Act covers relative unknowns like me. The legislation, which makes it an offence to send any material likely to cause stress and anxiety, can earn offenders a six-month prison sentence. Worthington thought there would be too much work involved, and that the criminals might lie to try to get out of trouble.
"When I suggested that all of the above was part and parcel of crime detection, and that his colleagues would undoubtedly have taken action if I was playing for QPR, Worthington adopted an ominously officious tone: "I know all about the footballers. You are challenging my authority."
"I was doing anything but. I know lots of people – and not just women working in the media – who are abused daily on the internet. Both the technology and legislation are there for these so-called trolls to be found and punished.
"If the police started to deal with this increasingly unpleasant problem quickly and fairly, it could be stigmatised in the way that abusive phone calls have been."
Ged Grebby, Chief Executive of Show Racism the Red Card said: "I am extremely concerned by Nabila’s experiences. Show Racism the Red Card works with professional footballers as positive role models for young people. When Sammy Ameobi and Frazier Campbell received abuse online, it was encouraging to see that the police dealt swiftly and effectively with the complaints. We talk to young people about the importance of reporting racism whenever they see, hear or experience it. We share the experiences of Sammy and Fraizer to demonstrate how seriously the police deal with racist hate crime. We hope this will empower young people to take action against any abuse they may receive.
"It is therefore alarming that Ms Ramdani claims the police hung up on her and dismissed her case, stating “that it would "take weeks" and "mounds of bureaucracy" to deal with the matter”. If the case will take weeks, then it is surely the role of the Police Force to dedicate this time to the case."
Lorraine Pascal spoke on her Twitter feed recently about the hurtful impact of a racist message she received: “Unpleasant tweet to get this morning... a very sad state of affairs" ... "Tough day today folks. Things don't usually bother me but this was just too much"... "I am normally Teflon (well, on the outside) but that tweet was a wee bit too much for me to handle."
Ged said, “The impact of online abuse can be incredibly damaging and in recent years, vicious and offensive comments sent via Twitter and Facebook are a growing reality. Lorraine’s comments demonstrate the impact of abusive comments. It is vital that the targets of racist abuse see that this is not something they should put up with and that action will be taken if they report such incidents. I believe there is a dual responsibility for the police to deal with perpetrators, and for Twitter to play a greater role in protecting users from abuse.”