Chris Grayling’s announcement of 2 years jail term for internet trolls is inconsistent with the ministry of justice’ reluctance to prosecute internet trolls.
In 2013 the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) published clear guidance to prosecutors under which communications that are grossly offensive, indecent, obscene or false but deficient in detail (as most tweets are) will be unlikely to be prosecuted.
This means that offences involving twitter in particular are subject to a high threshold and that in many cases a prosecution is unlikely to be in the public interest. Whenever prosecution is not in the public interest, police is unlikely to waste time investigating the offence in the first place. On the ground, it is clear that unless the police is given direction and resources to enable it to start investigate anti-social behaviour on social media, the imposition of longer maximum jail terms to internet troll pays nothing but a lip service to the increasing number of victims of online anti-social behaviour.
In reality, almost half of the calls made to the police in the UK relate to alleged offences committed via social media. Only a tiny number of those calls will result in a crime being recorded and a handful will actually be investigated, let alone prosecuted.
Out of those prosecuted, only numerous will relate to social media offences committed against normal members of the public and the vast majority of prosecutions will related to famous people, members of Parliament and celebrities.
2 years maximum jail term for internet trolls will make no difference to a single internet trolling victim until the police is directed and given the resources to investigate social media offences.