Police say officers facing increased harassment, especially online
Social media harassment and aggression against police officers has doubled in a year, according to the annual Violence Against Police Officials (GTPA) research. In addition to the police staff, their family members are very often targets of harassment or violence.
The rising level of violence is believed to be due to the increased contact police have had with the citizens over in the past year and for the largest part linked to the enforcement of coronavirus pandemic measures. Police officials have warned that this upward trend is very likely to continue in the future.
Doxing schemes, a practice that involves finding and sharing identifying information about a particular individual on the internet, have been targeting police officers with more frequency, according to the study. Numerous cases of this practice have been reported.
Since doxing is typically carried out with malicious intent, the police have stressed the importance of this activity becoming a criminal offense.
Additionally, opinion formers, journalists and politicians are also increasingly confronted with online intimidation and threats.
”The further digitization of society seems to induce certain people to intimidate police officers on the internet, but also politicians, journalists or opinion leaders”, GTPA program manager Ruud Verkuijlen said.