Caroline Criado-Perez - called in police after receiving up to 50 threats an hour on Twitter
Left: Cllr Abdul Hai; Right: Borough Commander BJ Harrington
Published: 01 August, 2013
by ALICE HUTTON
CAMDEN’S most senior police officer has personally visited the campaigner bombarded with rape and death threats after calling for a woman to appear on bank notes.
Caroline Criado-Perez called in police after receiving up to 50 threats an hour on Twitter.
Councillors were among those urging Camden detectives to take her complaint seriously over the weekend, with details of the case being sent directly to Borough Commander BJ Harrington.
Council community safety chief Councillor Abdul Hai said he had been horrified at the abuse the Camden resident had received from anonymous internet users – often referred to as “trolls”.
He said: “I don’t see a difference between threats like that online and threats made on the street.
"The message needs to be very clear that it will not be tolerated. She is a courageous woman. The Borough Commander has taken this very seriously and has visited her personally this week.”
Ms Criado-Perez, who co-founded the Women’s Room, a website dedicated to highlighting women’s voices in the media, was sent up to 50 messages an hour threatening to kill and rape her over a 48-hour period.
A spokesman for the Met Police confirmed that a 21-year-old man from Manchester had been arrested on Sunday following a complaint about malicious communications and was being questioned by Camden detectives.
In a statement, Ms Criado-Perez added: “It’s sadly not unusual to get this kind of abuse but I’ve never seen it get as intense or aggressive as this. It’s infuriating that the price you pay for standing up for women is 24 hours of rape threats.
"We are showing that by standing together we can make a real difference. We made the Bank of England change its mind, we can do the same with Twitter.”
More than 105,000 people have signed a change.org petition calling for Twitter to address the issue of online threats by introducing a button to report abuse.
Politicians, journalists and comedians, including Labour MP Stella Creasy, former deputy prime minister John Prescott and writers Caitlin Moran, Hadley Freeman and Owen Jones, have voiced their support.
Attempts are being made to organise a 24-hour boycott of the free social media network on Sunday, International Friendship Day.
Ms Criado-Perez’s campaign attracted more than 35,000 signatures after the Bank of England revealed it was planning to replace Elizabeth Fry with Winston Churchill on new £5 notes – meaning there would be no women other than the Queen on sterling notes.
The Bank responded by announcing that author Jane Austen will be placed on £10 notes.
Referring to the abuse, Ms Criado-Perez tweeted to her followers: “I am exhausted, overwhelmed & horrified by what I’ve seen.”