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7 June 2011, 06:07
Capital's got hold of figures from police that show reports of harassment on social networking sites have tripled in the East Midlands in 2 years.
There were 700 reports of malicious communications in Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire in 2010, and 14 in Derbyshire.
Detective Superintendent Pete Williams from Leicestershire Police, is an expert in cyber stalking, he's told Capital that the average age of an offender is quite young:
"The average age of an offender for this type of malicious communication where it's been posted on Facebook or Twitter is between the ages of 10 and 17.
"The age of a victim ranges between 18 and 29, so predominantly young people who are more used to using the medium than perhaps older people.
"Although within the analysis there were some older people, in fact, there was a lady of 83 years old who made a report recently."
Don't Be Afraid To Report Harassment
Police have told Capital that they should always contact them if they're worried about something online, so they can carry out a risk assessment, Detective Superintendent Pete Williams:
"We are a service that's there 24/7, 7 days a week, nobody should feel upset about ringing the police about something that's legitimately causing them concern.
"The important thing is, that the issues are risk assessed and picked up and what we're doing is expanding the number of people available to deal with the job."
If you're worried about something being posted on your page or in your timeline, then police say there's an easy way of taking a snapshot of the post, before it's deleted or drops off the page, so you can keep it as evidence.
Advice from Detective Superintendent Pete Williams:
"If you are being harassed on Facebook or Twitter, when you see the malicious post, if you press 'print screen', you save that piece of time.
"With social networking mediums, things move on very quickly, posts get put on and removed, it can be hard to show the police evidence.
"So if you do these simply things, it gives us some good evidence to start what we're doing, that will show us that at that point in time, what has happened has happened."