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Hate crime investigation following Euro 2020 final leads to 11 arrests

05 Aug 2021

Police forces across the UK investigating racist abuse targeting England players on social media are continuing to track down those responsible for the hate-filled messages.

The UK Football Policing Unit (UKFPU) launched a hate crime investigation following the racist comments directed at some of England's black players after the Euro 2020 final on 11 July.

To date, the investigation team has received more than 600 reports from individuals, charities, clubs and other organisations across the country. Of these reports, 207 were criminal in nature. The UKFPU has made data requests to social media companies to progress further investigations.

Where there have been responses, this information has been passed on to local forces, who have so far arrested 11 people across the UK on suspicion of a number of offences, including malicious communications and breaching section 127 of the Communications Act 2003. 

Of the 207 posts identified meeting a criminal threshold, 123 accounts belong to individuals outside the UK. The details of these individuals and cases are in the process of being passed on to the relevant country to act on them.

A total of 34 accounts have so far been identified as being in the UK, and 11 of these account holders have now been arrested.

The UKFPU are awaiting data from social media companies on the remaining 50 account holders.

Chief Constable Mark Roberts, National Police Chiefs' Council Football Policing Lead, said: 

"There are people out there who believe they can hide behind a social media profile and get away with posting such abhorrent comments. They need to think again – we have investigators proactively seeking out abusive comments in connection to the match and, if they meet a criminal threshold, those posting them will be arrested. 

"Our investigation is continuing at pace and we are grateful for those who have taken time to report racist posts to us.

“The complexities of investigating social media abuse cannot be underestimated. A vast amount of work has gone in to identifying these eleven individuals. I would like to thank Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for responding to our requests promptly.

"In the meantime, we are seeking engagement with the players themselves to offer our support, and seek their input for our investigation and subsequent prosecutions in conjunction with the CPS."

If you would like to report a hate crime, contact your local force by calling 101 or visiting their online reporting portal. You can also report to True Vision at www.report-it.org.uk. Discrimination in football can be reported via Kick it Out at www.kickitout.org

Arrests:

[A] The 42-year-old man, from Runcorn, Cheshire, was arrested on suspicion of displaying threatening, abusive or insulting written material that is likely to stir up racial hatred. He has since been released under investigation pending further enquiries.

[B] A 21 year-old man from Christchurch, Dorset was arrested on suspicion of offences contrary to section 127 of the Communication Act 2003. He has since been released under investigation pending further enquiries.

[C] A 49 year-old woman, from Christchurch, Dorset was been arrested on suspicion of offences contrary to section 127 of the Communication Act 2003. She has since been released under investigation pending further enquiries.

[D]A 37-year-old man, from Sale, Greater Manchester, was arrested on suspicion of committing an offence contrary to section 127 of the Communication Act 2003. He has been released under investigation pending further enquiries.

[E] A 49-year-old man, from Folkestone, Kent, was been arrested on suspicion of a malicious communications offence. He has been released under investigation pending further enquiries.

[F] A 55 year-old man from Plumstead, London was arrested on suspicion of sending a malicious communication. He has been released under investigation pending further enquiries.

[G] A 22 year-old man from Abbey Wood, London was arrested on suspicion of sending a malicious communication.  He has been released under investigation pending further enquiries.

[H] A man aged in his 50s, from Hounslow, West London, was arrested on suspicion of sending a malicious communication.  He has been released under investigation pending further enquires.

[I] An 18 year-old man from Reading was been arrested on suspicion of sending a malicious communication.  He has been released under investigation pending further enquiries.

[J] A 63 year-old man from Shrewsbury, Shropshire, was arrested on suspicion of committing an offence contrary to S18 of the Public Order Act 1986. He has been bailed to return at a later date.

[K] A 50 year-old man from Worcester, Worcestershire, was arrested on suspicion of committing an offence contrary to S18 of the Public Order Act 1986. He has been bailed to return at later date.