Bigger headlines don’t mean worse crimes……

I saw that yet another journalist has been arrested on suspicion of computer hacking.  Patrick Foster, 28 years, was arrested in London on Wednesday 29th August 2012.  This was in relation to working alongside Scotland Yard with the Met, Operation Tuleta.  and he is  now the 11th person to be arrested, and is working alongside the Operation Wheeting, looking in to the phone hacking scandal.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “Officers from Operation Tuleta, the investigation into criminal breaches of privacy including computer hacking which is being carried out in conjunction with Metropolitan Police phone hacking inquiries, arrested a man in North London this morning, 29 August 2012.”

“The 28-year-old man, a journalist, was arrested at his home address at approximately 7am for suspected offences under the Computer Misuse Act 1990 and suspected conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, contrary to the Criminal Law Act 1977.”

Then yesterday there was another headline :


This is in relation to a serving police officer from West Midlands who has been arrested after a woman was abused on the internet.  Nicola Brookes, 45, from Brighton, was falsely portrayed as a paedophile and drug dealer on Facebook. The 32-year-old officer has been bailed on suspicion of misuse of a computer.

Why does this get more press coverage?  Because they are a Police Officer.  There will be far more coverage for this than there will be when ‘one of their own’, (journalists in particular) are found to be doing something illegal.

West Midlands Police said the policeman arrested was not a frontline officer and had not been suspended.

He has been bailed to 19 October as inquiries continue.

“West Midlands Police is assisting Sussex Police in connection with an ongoing inquiry regarding a serving West Midlands Police officer,” a police spokesman said.  “The investigation is ongoing by Sussex Police and the allegations do not relate to use of police systems.”

Sussex Police said the Birmingham man was arrested on 21 August “following the investigation into online harassment of a Brighton woman”  “The complaint from the victim relates to abuse that she received whilst using her Facebook account and also that her account and emails had been hacked into by an unknown source,” the Sussex force said. “Officers examined her computer as part of an ongoing investigation to try and trace the source of the abuse and security breach.”

So it appears that a Police Officer, who quite honestly should know better, has trolled this woman and caused her harassment.  He hasn’t used any Police Systems and is still serving on a non-frontline role as he did before, and has to answer to bail.  Why then, does this make for such a big headline.

It’s because of his job.  Quite simply if you asked who should be the most honest out of a police officer or a journalist, of course the answer would be the Police Officer.  It, however, does not make it right, to make the headlines bigger than what they should be.  Surely a journalist who is hacking in to accounts, and is knowingly trying to retrieve information from sources that he does not have access to, or permission to look at, is on a similar par with that of a person who has trolled someone on the internet.

I do not, and will not understand, why someone would ‘Troll’ someone else.  For me it seems that if you don’t agree with some ones point of view or their personality, then you are just best to leave people alone, however, in this day and age, and with a wide range of information available to people from your ‘social’ networking, this isn’t always the case, and when someone gets it in to their head that they think a person is wrong or they don’t agree, then this is where Trolling can become very unpleasant.

The bigger the headline and the more coverage a story gets isn’t necessarily because it is seen as ‘worse’ than another crime, for anyone who does commit a crime, especially those who hold a position of trust, including the emergency services, should be dealt with expeditiously, but should they get a bigger headline?

No, I don’t think they should.  Just how much will we hear about those ‘trolling’ or ‘hacking’ in to peoples personal lives? Not a lot.

One Response to “Bigger headlines don’t mean worse crimes……”
  1. Liam Burrows says:

    Obviously, the size of the headline is important, but more important, I think, is the size of the sentence. Phone Hacking and Email Hacking are comparable crimes and the sentences should be similar. A couple of years in jail for both would show justice being served. I’d be more concerned that the (allegedly) bent cop is going to get out of this without penalty whilst the journalists will bear the full weight of the law.

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