London’s Khan Hunts Trolls While Crime Soars

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(I don’t know what it is about the UK, London and its new Lord Mayor Sadiq Khan that just makes me write tabloid headlines – see also my earlier post “The Wrath of Khan Bikini Ban”)

Congratulations Londoners! How does it feel to live in the best city in the world? Well, it must be. Mayor Khan has clearly solved all the major and minor urban issues that could ever beset your great metropolis, since he now has time and money to fight other modern scourges.

First, it was the ban on advertisements on public transport that promote “unrealistic and unhealthy” body image, or basically pictures of attractive women in bikinis. As the Lord Mayor said,

“As the father of two teenage girls, I am extremely concerned about this kind of advertising, which can demean people, particularly women, and make them ashamed of their bodies.

“It is high time it came to an end. Nobody should feel pressurised, while they travel on the Tube or bus, into unrealistic expectations surrounding their bodies, and I want to send a clear message to the advertising industry about this.”

With bikinis consigned to the ash heap of history, Lord Mayor will now spend £1,730,726 to help the police develop an “online hate crime hub”. As the announcement states:

Consultation during the development of the [Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime] Hate Crime Reduction Strategy for London identified the increasing role that online hate played in targeting individuals and communities. Social media provides hate crime perpetrators with a veil of anonymity, making it harder to bring them to justice and potentially impacting on a larger number of people. Those targeted can become isolated, living in fear of the online behaviour materialising in the real world. The police response to online hate crime is inconsistent, primarily because police officers are not equipped to tackle it. The purpose of this programme is to strengthen the police and community response to this growing crime type.

Meanwhile, on the streets, while the police are increasingly directed to hunt trolls and other people who say mean things about others:

The murder rate in England and Wales has risen sharply for the first time in a decade at a time when police have diverted detectives to investigate historic sex abuse and allegations against tabloid newspapers.

New figures show that the number of murders and manslaughter deaths increased by 14 per cent last year bringing the annual total to 574, or 11 deaths a week.

Officials at the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the surge was concentrated in London and the South East and described it as “peculiar”.

However, police sources said contributory factors may have been the re-deployment of detectives in London – where a fifth of the additional murders took place – as well as growing violence among migrants, including organised gangs.

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And the chaser: “A massive shortage of detectives in the capital was feared to be fuelling the crime wave.”

As Prof Frank Furedi summed it up, “Pure rants, very childish [people online] are increasingly criminalised, and as a result of that the police is becoming more and more involved in controlling our morality… [The police are] almost playing the role of a moral police. And instead of dealing with real crime in the offline world, [the police] find its very convenient to ‘send the message’ in the online world because it’s a relatively easy thing to do.”

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