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Other credible threats of violence to the person may fall to be considered under section 4 of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 if they amount to a course of conduct within the meaning of that provision and there is sufficient evidence to establish the necessary state of knowledge.Credible threats of violence to the person or damage to property may also fall to be considered under section 1 of the Malicious Communications Act 1988, which prohibits the sending of an electronic communication which conveys a threat, or section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 which prohibits the sending of messages of a "menacing character" by means of a public telecommunications network.Communications which do not fall into any of the categories above fall to be considered separately (see below) i.e.
Where social media is simply used to facilitate some other substantive offence, prosecutors should proceed under the substantive offence in question.
Cases involving the sending of communications via social media are likely to benefit from early consultation between police and prosecutors, and the police are encouraged to contact the CPS at an early stage of the investigation.
Top of page Communications sent via social media are capable of amounting to criminal offences and prosecutors should make an initial assessment of the content of the communication and the conduct in question so as to distinguish between: Communications which may constitute credible threats of violence to the person or damage to property.
Adherence to these guidelines will ensure that there is a consistency of approach across the CPS.
The guidelines cover the offences that are likely to be most commonly committed by the sending of communications via social media.
These guidelines equally apply to the re-sending (or re-tweeting) of communications and whenever they refer to the sending of a communication, the guidelines should also be read as applying to the resending of a communication.