/ Arrest after comments made about New Zealand attack

Further arrest in connection with offensive comments made following the New Zealand attacks. 

Yesterday, Sunday 17 March 2019, police received a report that there had been an offensive social media message referencing the New Zealand attacks. 

In relation to this report a man in his 40s has been arrested in the Stockport area on suspicion of racially aggravated malicious communications and will be interviewed by detectives later. 

Over the weekend four other people were arrested in connection with offensive remarks made following the same incident in New Zealand.  

A man and a woman have been charged with a section 4 racially aggravated public order offence following an incident in Rochdale at the weekend. They have been bailed to appear at Manchester Magistrates Court on Tuesday 9 April 2019.

Separately, on Saturday 16 March 2019 officers arrested a 38-year-old woman from the Rochdale area on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offence following comments made online in relation to the New Zealand attacks. She has been released under investigation. 

Lastly, the 24-year-old man from the Oldham area that was arrested on Saturday 16 March 2019 on suspicion of malicious communications also referencing the New Zealand attack has been bailed pending further enquiries. 

Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson said: “Since the terrible events of last Friday - and despite the overwhelming feeling of solidarity amongst the people of Manchester - we have continued to receive reports of a small number of people making offensive remarks on social media. 

“As we said yesterday, where these comments cross the line beyond free speech and into criminal activity we will make arrests and if the evidence is there we will seek prosecution. 

“It seems that a very small number of people think it is acceptable to make offensive comments forgetting that whilst this happened on the other side of the world, it involved real people who died in horrible circumstances. 

“When they press send they seem to forget this and the terribly damaging and upsetting effect they have when they put such offensive and insulting words on public display via social media. 

“There is no place for hate crime on our streets and we continue to stand with the people of New Zealand at this incredibly distressing time.” 


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