POLICE in Staffordshire are investigating a number of alleged criminal offences in the form of offensive and racist comments made towards former Stafford Rangers player and Cannock Chase resident Stan Collymore on social networking site Twitter.
Chief Inspector Carl Ratcliffe, Staffordshire’s lead officer on hate crime said: “We will not tolerate hate crime – it has no place in our community and social media is just the same.
“Sadly some people mistakenly believe that anything said or done on Twitter or Facebook somehow doesn’t count, they think it doesn’t matter because it’s not face-to-face, they are very wrong.
“Tweeting abuse is a very personal way of causing distress to someone, and it doesn’t matter if the person is famous or not, this sort of behaviour is often illegal and can result in those responsible having to account for their behaviour in court.
“We believe that it's everyone’s role in our community to treat each other with respect and Staffordshire Police will investigate complaints of criminal behaviour and take action where appropriate.
“Our investigation in this case is very much ongoing, and involves a number of other police forces, and agencies. We are in regular contact with Mr Collymore, providing ongoing support and keeping him updated.
“It’s important that social media users, quite rightly disgusted by the offensive messages, don’t spread these messages further. If you spot an offensive post, report it via the help centres of either Twitter or Facebook, and then block it.
“We take hate crime extremely seriously and we actively encourage those affected by this to report it. Users can report hate crime offences online via www.report-it.org.uk”
Staffordshire Police are in contact with Twitter in relation to any evidence and support they can provide for this investigation.