Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?

Police to tackle online abuse and provide victim support with hate crime hub

A special team of officers in London will tackle the growing problem of hate crime on social networks.

Katie Collins Senior European Correspondent
Katie a UK-based news reporter and features writer. Officially, she is CNET's European correspondent, covering tech policy and Big Tech in the EU and UK. Unofficially, she serves as CNET's Taylor Swift correspondent. You can also find her writing about tech for good, ethics and human rights, the climate crisis, robots, travel and digital culture. She was once described a "living synth" by London's Evening Standard for having a microchip injected into her hand.
Katie Collins

The Met acknowledged that it needs to do more to protect individuals and communities from online abuse.

Ullstein Bild/Getty Images

London's Metropolitan Police Force is launching a crack team of specialist investigators dedicated to investigating online hate crimes in the UK, with a focus on victimisation occurring on social networks.

The officers, together with community volunteers, will form an innovative London-based hub due to launch in the coming months, the BBC reports. They will come up with technological solutions for responding to online hate crimes, as well as building countermeasures and intelligence capabilities.

The hub will also be used to identify and support victims of social media-based hate crime, which the Met has identified as playing an increasingly central role in targeting individuals and communities.

"The police response to online hate crime is inconsistent, primarily because police officers are not equipped to tackle it," according to an outline of the programme, published by the Mayor of London's office. "The purpose of this programme is to strengthen the police and community response to this growing crime type."

The squad of officers is being funded in part by the Home Office Police Innovation Fund, which is donating £450,000 to the two-year pilot project, which will in total cost more than £1.7 million.