Former paedophile taskforce commander says ‘no excuses will do’ in hunt for Dodds child death troll
One of the world’s most influential figures when it comes to policing the internet has said there must be “no excuses” in the hunt for the Twitter user who mocked the Dodds family over their dead son.
Jim Gamble told the News Letter that the individual responsible is a “cowardly moron” who must be brought before a court no matter what it takes.
Mr Gamble was the founding chief of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command (CEOP), a major UK policing division set up in 2006 to track down people grooming children and amassing indecent images.
The agency works with Interpol, the US government and others, and is now under the umbrella of the National Crime Agency.
Formerly an RUC man with counter-terror experience, Mr Gamble led CEOP for four years.
Today he is CEO of Ineqe Safeguarding Group, a web safety consultancy.
He has now added his voice to the chorus of disgust over the Dodds trolling case.
The whole furore erupted after long-serving DUP figure Diane Dodds posted a lighthearted message online to ring in the new year.
A couple of hours later an anonymous Twitter account sent a reply – completely out-of-the-blue – mocking the family over the death of their disabled eight-year-old son Andrew in 1998 (the News Letter is not repeating the remark here).
The account has since been deleted and police have launched an investigation.
Mr Gamble told the News Letter: “Harms on the internet are seldom simply about the technology itself.
“They are primarily about people who use the anonymity the technology provides to do and say things they would never say in person.”
This case was “particularly cruel” he said, adding: “It does not get much worse.
“In my experience when such individuals are identified they tend to be sad, obnoxious people with complex lives.
“To these people it is always funny, until they are caught and face the consequences.
“The police must do everything in their power to identify, locate and hold them to account – no excuse about distance and complexity or the requirement for a subpoena should be good enough.
“It can be done, so it must be done.”
Under Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003, a person can get six months in jail for if he “sends by means of a public electronic communications network a message or other matter that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character”.
Specifically Mr Gamble believes a charge of criminal harassment could be sustained, as well as a breach of the Malicious Communications (NI) Order 1988.
“A lot of people are pinning their hopes on the upcoming Online Safety Act,” he said.
“I’ve got news for them; it won’t change that much.
“People slow when they pass a sign signalling that speed cameras are ahead because the consequences are real.
“So until the police are able to demonstrably hold these anonymous cowardly morons to account, little will change.
“The young, the vulnerable, the high-profile and the misogynists’ favourite target, women, will continue to suffer.”
More from this reporter:
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.
With the coronavirus lockdowns having had a major impact on many of our advertisers — and consequently the revenue we receive — we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.
Subscribe to newsletter.co.uk and enjoy unlimited access to the best Northern Ireland and UK news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content.
https://www.newsletter.co.uk/subscriptionsnow to sign up.
Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.
Ben Lowry, Editor