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Man arrested after breach of Harassment Order over Social Media

IN EARLY March, Operation Blue Silver Birch was undertaken to further protect victims of domestic violence.

Officers attended the victims’ home addresses to ensure no breaches of the conditions of existing Harassment Orders had been carried out by the suspects.

During the operation, an incident was disclosed to officers where the suspect had added the victim to a closed Instagram story group with just the two of them in it, before adding stories that were aimed towards the victim.

This is a very clever way of breaching the conditions of the Harassment Order, as there is deniability on this suspects side as it is posted to a general story. There is also no notification to the victim that they have been added to what is effectively a closed group, and the victims cannot see who else is in the group. (It is worth knowing that if a closed group has been created the outline of the story box will be green.)

A man was subsequently arrested in the early hours of March 2 and was remanded in custody. On March 3, the Court issued a Protection from harassment order, and imposed a 12-week suspended sentence for the incidents of March 2. Any further breaches could result in the prison sentence being activated by the Court.

North Wales Police Force Lead for Violence Against Women and Girls, Superintendent Jason Devonport said: “We are committed to eradicating all forms of violence against women and girls. Domestic violence and abuse against all individuals is a priority to us, and we will use all powers available to us to keep our communities safe.

“Many people who offend online think that their only consequence will be involvement with the police and the worst-case scenario is going to prison. But there are many more consequences, and conviction can affect your access to your children, your relationship, your finances and your job.

“If you, or someone you know, has been a victim of Domestic violence or harassment, there are a few different ways you can report it to us. We understand it can be difficult. Our officers and partner organisations are here to listen and work together to support you in any way we can. Importantly, your information could help us bring the offender to justice and make sure you, and other people in a similar situation, are kept safe.”

If you’d like to report online, rather than speaking to an officer by telephone in the first instance, you can use our online crime reporting service which is secure and confidential.

If you’d like to talk to someone, our national non-emergency telephone number is staffed 24/7. Call us on 101 and report what happened or just get some advice.

Is someone in immediate danger? Is a crime taking place or has one just happened? If so, call 999 now and ask for the police. If you’re deaf or hard of hearing, use our textphone service 18000 or text us on 999 if you’ve pre-registered with the emergency SMS service.