Christchurch man and woman arrested over racist tweets aimed at England's Euro 2020 stars
TWO Christchurch residents have been arrested over racist tweets aimed at England's football stars in the wake of the nation's exit from the Euro 2020.
A 21-year-old man and a 49-year-old woman were held on suspicion of offences contrary to section 127 of the Communication Act 2003, the UK Football Policing Unit (UKFPU) has confirmed.
Both have since been released under investigation pending further enquiries.
It follows UKFPU launching a hate crime investigation in the wake of racist comments directed at some of England's black players after the Euro 2020 final on 11th July.
To date, the investigation team has received more than 600 reports from individuals, charities, clubs and other organisations across the country. Of these reports, 207 were criminal in nature. The UKFPU has made data requests to social media companies to progress further investigations.
Where there have been responses, this information has been passed on to local forces, who have so far arrested 11 people across the UK on suspicion of a number of offences.
Chief Constable Mark Roberts, National Police Chiefs' Council Football Policing Lead, said: "There are people out there who believe they can hide behind a social media profile and get away with posting such abhorrent comments.
"They need to think again – we have investigators proactively seeking out abusive comments in connection to the match and, if they meet a criminal threshold, those posting them will be arrested.
"Our investigation is continuing at pace and we are grateful for those who have taken time to report racist posts to us.
"The complexities of investigating social media abuse cannot be underestimated. A vast amount of work has gone in to identifying these eleven individuals. I would like to thank Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for responding to our requests promptly.
"In the meantime, we are seeking engagement with the players themselves to offer our support, and seek their input for our investigation and subsequent prosecutions in conjunction with the CPS."
To report a hate crime contact your local force by calling 101 or visiting their online reporting portal or visit www.report-it.org.uk. Discrimination in football can be reported via Kick it Out at www.kickitout.org