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Government will consider making online trolling an offence – Justice Secretary

David Gauke was asked about tougher penalties for social media abuse after Katie Price gave evidence to a Commons committee.

The Government will consider making online trolling a criminal offence, Justice Secretary David Gauke has said.

The comments come after TV personality Katie Price gave evidence to a Commons committee on the issue after launching a campaign for tougher penalties for social media abuse.

Asked about Ms Price’s campaign, Mr Gauke told ITV’s Peston On Sunday: “I think we have to consider that. I mean what we see is some appalling behaviour on social media.”

What we see is some appalling behaviour on social media Justice Secretary David Gauke

Ms Price told the Commons Petitions Committee last week that a line should be drawn between “banter” and criminal abuse but the law had failed to keep up with the changing use of technology.

Her 15-year-old son Harvey – who is partially blind, autistic and has Prader-Willi syndrome – was targeted on Twitter last year by an unnamed 19-year-old who received a caution from Sussex Police.

But Ms Price told MPs that police had been powerless to act in other cases.

The TV personality also wants to see the creation of a register of offenders.

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