Issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions on 19 December 2012
If your query concerns Paris Brown, who recently stepped down from being a Youth Commissioner for Kent Police, the following CPS clarification may be of interest to you:
where a communication has been sent that is grossly offensive, indecent, obscene or false, there are a number of factors that are likely to mean that a prosecution is not in the public interest.
One of these factors is whether the suspect has taken swift action to remove the communication or expressed genuine remorse.Brown apologized and removed the items. It is difficult to see any public interest in taking the matter any further.
The Scotsman has some figures which may also be of interest:
Scotland Yard revealed that three police officers have been sacked for misusing social media over the past five years. Allegations linked to the use of sites including Facebook and Twitter have been recorded against 75 Metropolitan Police officers since 2009, with 38 of the claims substantiated.Disclaimer: this post is merely a link to relevant documents.
Update 1 May 2013
Olswang LLP, who represented Paris Brown, have provided an excellent summary of the case.
Essentially, the police had to respond to the 50 complaints about a few tweets although they've got plenty of burglaries, murders and rapes to be going on with.
Responding suitably should have taken about a morning to check the published guidelines and note that the material arguably didn't come with in the scope of the guidelines, it had been removed, an apology had been given, and Paris Brown was under 18 so the bar for prosecution is set very high. They could have asked a CPS lawyer if they weren't sure what the guidelines meant. Then they could have politely declined to take the matter further.
Instead - and this is what we should be kicking about - they used the mere excuse of complaints of being offended to confiscate property and interview a child under caution. Then they had to drop any thought of charges since it was obviously a non-starter. Well done to Olswang for highlighting this abuse of process.
It is obviously ridiculous that a teenager has to call in a lawyer to protect her from the agents of the state who should have had more sense than to join in with child-kicking. Was their purpose in doing so nothing to do with the 50 complaints but rather a convenient excuse to examine communications between a police commissioner and her appointee?
Following the irregularities in the Andrew Mitchell Affair (which is still being investigated) there needs to be an independent investigation of the 50 source complaints to see if they were in fact genuine members of the public or if there was a concerted action by either a political lobby, police or those connected to them such as close family.