'Gwent Police of ignoring online abuse' - Eggheads star
3:13pm Friday 11th April 2014 in News
A TELEVISION “baddie” has accused Gwent Police of ignoring a complaint of online abuse, after internet trolls targeted him on social media.
CJ de Mooi, best known for starring of BBC Two quiz show Eggheads and now living in Monmouthshire, reported the messages in November 2012 to the Metropolitan Police while he was in London, and days later to Gwent Police upon returning home.
But he was dismayed when he was told by both forces that he should try and talk to the trolls, who had publicly accused him of child abuse at the height of Operation Yewtree, a police initiative set up in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.
“They just weren’t interested,” the 44-year-old said. “I was told to go away and talk to these people and ask them to stop contacting me. As a BBC television presenter being accused of child abuse [it] wasn’t quite the right response.”
In the end the Egghead, who said his friend and former Doctor Who actor Colin Baker was also targeted by trolls, contacted Operation Yewtree himself and passed on the information, but this week he was so incensed after receiving a court summons over a speeding fine he believed had been cleared up, he took to Twitter to publicly name Gwent Police as ignoring emails.
“Six months ago I had a speeding ticket so I got in touch with the police to sort it out with the safety camera unit,” he said.
“But last week I received a court summons and the police then said they have no record of an email from me. I have a physical copy of my email and I have sent that to the court.”
In desperation the star emailed Gwent Police Chief Constable Jeff Farrar and copied in the Independent Police Complaints Commission. (IPCC).
The force has insisted online attacks are no less serious than “real life” incidents and said although it has received no official complaint, officers will contact Mr de Mooi about his concerns.
“I would like Gwent Police to do their job and explain themselves,” Mr de Mooi said. “Why deny receiving emails and why ignore quite serious reports?”
A spokeswoman for Gwent Police said victims can feel the same sense of harassment, alarm or distress when attacked online as they would if approached in the street.
“We would urge people who use social media sites to think carefully about what they are posting,” She said, “people are mistaken if they think that they can remain anonymous. Gwent Police use a wide range of resources to identify offenders.”
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police spokesman confirmed that where the in allegations is of “unpleasant comments” officers are likely to advise people to contact with those people responsible in the first instance.
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