Is it just us, or does something not sound quite right with this?
Two men have been jailed for four years each in northwest England for inciting disorder via social networking sites as rioting and looting erupted in London and other cities last week, police said Tuesday.
The pair, who were arrested last week, were named by Cheshire Police as Jordan Blackshaw, 20, and Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan, 22.
Neither of their Facebook posts resulted in any rioting, a Cheshire Police spokeswoman said.
Sutcliffe-Keenan had set up a Facebook page called “Warrington Riots” that urged rioters to gather in the northwestern town on August 10, while Blackshaw had created a page encouraging people to cause trouble in his home town of Northwich on August 9, the spokeswoman said.
Residents and business reported the posts to police and the men were arrested before any disorder occurred, she added.
Handing down their sentence at Chester Crown Court, Judge Elgan Edwards said he hoped it would serve as a deterrent to others.
More than 1,300 people have been charged across England in connection with last week’s unrest, which led to widespread looting and damage. Five deaths have been linked to the violence.
Many courts have used fast-track procedures to bring suspects to justice.
Police and politicians have pointed to social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as mobile messaging services, as tools used to organize looting and violence.
Cheshire Police Assistant Chief Constable Phil Thompson said, “If we cast our minds back just a few days to last week and recall the way in which technology was used to spread incitement and bring people together to commit acts of criminality, it is easy to understand the four-year sentences that were handed down in court today.
“In Cheshire, we quickly recognized the impact of the situation on our communities and the way in which social media was being used to promote and incite behavior that would strike fear into the hearts of our communities.”
Prime Minister David Cameron told Parliament on Thursday that “when people are using social media for violence, we need to stop them.”
The government was working with the police and intelligence services, he said, “to look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality.”
What in the name of civil liberties?? Does that sound okay to you?