London: Cyber police in the United Kingdom will soon patrol social networking websites such as Facebook in search of cyber bullies.
Officers from Thames Valley Police will send a written online message warning the bullies that they could be prosecuted for a public order offence if they continue to use the site to pursue victims, reports the Daily Mail.
They plan to recruit teenage volunteers in their Facebook project who will help identify any new cases of the crime.
Over the next three months, police officers plan to work with schools in Reading where 60 Facebook-related crimes have been reported in four months alone.
Teachers will tip them off whenever a parent believes their child could be a cyber-bully victim.
Police said ‘nipping the problem in the bud’ early on would avoid the problem becoming more serious.
The rising concern over Facebook bullying has come about following a spate of recent incidents and rising reports of Facebook ‘Trolling’ where bullies leave shocking comments on online memorial pages.
“By sending a police warning notice on Facebook students will be made aware they could be prosecuted,” said PC Dave Thomas of Thames Valley Police.
“By alerting their parents to the problem, we are aiming to nip the problem in the bud and prevent it becoming something more serious,” he added.
“Social networkers, whatever their age, often don’t think about what they are writing in the same way they would think about what they write in a letter or an email,” said Thomas.
“If we have to investigate Facebook messages as harassment or public order offences and the young person gets charged, it could seriously affect their future. We want them to realise how serious the matter is,” he added.
Once a school or parent flag a cyber bullying issue to an officer, the team will investigate what has been written and, if it is deemed inappropriate, they will send the bully a message warning them if they continue they could be breaking the law.
The young person’s parents will also be informed what their child has been doing and the potential consequences of their actions.