The 29 police forces recorded almost 5000 incidents between January and November 2012 in which Facebook or twitter was a factor. These figures indicate a huge rise in the number of complaints made to police due to social media activity. The BBC News team stated that it represented a rise of 780% over a 4 year period; a time which has ostensibly seen a massive uptick in social media usage.
Of the 29 police forces 18 provided details relating to the number of criminal charges that were delivered: a total of 653. Among the most common complaints made to the police were of harassment and menacing messages.
Chief constable Andy Trotter of the Association of Chief Police Officers welcomed the recent guidance delivered by the DPP and echoed the belief that there should be a high threshold before any sort of police intervention. He added that people should be free to communicate even if their messages were obnoxious.
The big thing to remember here is that the figures relating to the number of people charged with social media crimes represents only a fraction - around a third - of police activity in England, Scotland and Wales. Around a half of police forces (29 in total) provided information on the number of complaints made, and then only 19 police forces provided information on the number of charges made for social media crimes.
You can read more from the BBC on this, here.