Following correspondence with a Member of the Stormont Assembly, I acquired on February 11 a communications document from Chief Constable Matt Bagott which outlined the position of the PSNI in relation to the online world of social media.
"It is worthy of note that the Right to Freedom of Expression (Article 10 ECHR) is enshrined in UK law by virtue of The Human Rights Act 1998. Whilst this is not an absolute right the threshold to be reached for a prosecution is a high one.
In recognition of the complexity of Social Media-based criminality, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for England and Wales, Keir Starmer, QC has issued interim guidance via the CPS. This guidance forms part of an ongoing consultation process on the future approach to tackling Social Media-based criminality.
The DPP is recognised as a leading authority in Human Rights Law and was previously a Human Rights Advisor to the Policing Board.
Within Northern Ireland the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) has not yet adopted formal guidance of their own, however they are content for the PSNI to work to that issued by the DPP.
Social Media related incidents/crimes are relatively new so there is presently an inconsistent approach to the recording of same on police systems. Whilst a number of cases have been referred to the PPS none have reached the threshold for prosecution. We will of course continue to work closely with the PPS in respect of such matters and refer individual cases as and when all investigative strands are complete.
Moving forward, and to return to the specific points within your question, discussions have taken place around identifying steps to enable some method to enable us to easily identify social media offences so to allow for details to be more easily captured/interrogated. However, at this stage work in this area has yet to commence."Read the communication with Matt Bagott in full here.