A Police operation is set to target 50 Old Firm fans who peddle their hate-filled agendas online. Police officers will raid addresses in Glasgow, Lanarkshire and Ayrshire before tomorrow’s final Old Firm derby.
The targets – supporters who have been spewing out religious and racial hatred on social networking and chat forums.
Among them are so-called fans who have been posting vile abuse about Celtic manager Neil Lennon and Rangers midfielder El Hadji Diouf.
The operation, two months in its planning, involve officers from the Strathclyde Police Anti-Violence Directorate, which usually tackles thugs who set up gang fights online.
The Police have tracked down targets through internet accounts and website registrations, and arrest them for a variety of offences, ranging from breach of the peace to incitement to racially aggravated violence.
Superintendent Kirk Kinnell, heading up the operation said, “This is not a final warning. I want to reassure the public that we are taking action right now. We know who we are targeting. We have at least 50 live inquiries and we will be coming to the home addresses of people in the near future.”
It was also revealed that the targets range from schoolboys to middle-aged men, who have used Facebook, Twitter and Football Forums to spew their sick views out.
The superintendent added, “All of the inquiries are at different stages. It is a complex process but there is no hiding place on the internet. It is a broad-ranging inquiry and we are looking at comments about various individuals. This goes back to before the latest parcel bomb incidents. So some of them are sectarian comments about Neil Lennon and some are racist comments about El Hadji-Diouf, for example. But all are violent and hate-filled.”
“These kind of comments have become particularly prolific over recent weeks and that has brought it into focus for us. It is at the point where they have become filled with hate and anger and are likely to incite violent behaviour so we are acting on these as quickly as we can. Everywhere we find people spreading the disease of hate online is where we will focus our activity.”
Supt Kinnell continued, “It is not difficult for us to track these people. We have cooperation from the Internet Service Providers Association and media companies which facilitate websites. They are helping us to identify those responsible. This operation will continue for as long as it needs to. We will be relentless in tracking these people down until they stop posting this kind of abuse on the internet. And if it stops in the coming weeks but flares up again next season, we will be right back on top of them again.”
Source: Daily Record