Social media posts using abusive language are driving children to commit violent crimes ‘within minutes’, Britain’s most senior police officer has warned.
Scotland Yard commissioner Cressida Dick said gangs were using online platforms to glorify street violence and show off ‘with weapons’.
Miss Dick also raised concerns about the violent undercurrent in some music, especially grime.
She warned that it could lead vulnerable youngsters to think it was ‘an admirable thing to be talking about violence and people perpetrating it’.
‘There’s definitely something about the impact of social media … people being able to go from slightly angry with each other to “fight” very quickly … gangs can posture on social media and talk about who they are and what they’ve achieved,’ she told The Times. ‘It may not be unlawful but it is glamorising it for people, showing off with weapons.’
She said that insults or threats online “makes [violence] faster, it makes it harder for people to cool down. I’m sure it does rev people up”.
The Metropolitan Police chief, who has been in the role for 12 months, said she was ‘no luddite’ and that the internet was ‘wonderfully positive in almost every way’. But she added that ‘incredibly abusive’ language online can ‘rev people up’.