Have the police failed to record the Twitter threats against me?

Police officers told Caroline Criado-Perez that they would collate the necessary information on threatening tweets sent to her. But earlier today, she was told that only individual tweets she had reported were being investigated. She now wonders if it is

I will rape you. Fucking pathetic slut.

I will shove a 3 foot pole in your vagina. You deserve nothing, but pain. 

U fucking spanish dirty hooker. 

 

I had been off Twitter for much of the morning. When I returned, these tweets were just three of a stream of abusive messages I received from a single account earlier today. As has become habit, I screencapped them, and prepared to email them to the police investigating my ongoing case.

But when I looked at my inbox, I found an email already there. It was from a police officer, asking me to approve a statement which he had attached along with some screencapped evidence. I read over the statement and made a few changes. Then I looked at the accompanying evidence, and was surprised to find only two relatively innocuous tweets to me included. I emailed the police officer back, asking why this was, given this particular user had sent me multiple threats from multiple accounts. The response came back: this is all we have from you

How can I describe the way that made me feel? I knew I had sent more than that to the police - far more. I remembered that the police had originally told me I only needed to screencap one threat per account, because they would look into the rest.

It now looks as though not only had they not done that, but they didn't even have the screencaps I had sent them. They were now asking me to go through all the threats I'd received - and relive all the psychological trauma involved - to look for three specific usernames, to see what evidence I had of their abuse. 

It started to dawn on me that, contrary to the advice I'd been given, I should have screencapped and reported every single threat every user sent me, because I needed to have reported it myself for the police to act on it. 

I felt completely hopeless - on the edge of breaking down. The thought of going through the threats all over again was traumatising in itself. I emailed back and said I didn't want to do it.  I asked if they could find a way that I didn't have to go through all the screencaps myself. I asked if they had received the rape threat screen-caps I had just sent them.

They replied telling me what they had and asking me again to review my systems. 

That was two hours ago, and they still haven't responded. And so, purely because I couldn't take the anticipation and the tension anymore, I've done it. I've gone through the screencaps and relived the experience of being told I was going to be gang-raped until I die. I found the ones they wanted and read again about how this particular user was going to find me and kill me - although of course, I haven't found all of them, because I'd been told I didn't need to record them all. I've collated all the threats I do have and created a shared online folder of them. I've sent all this to the police. That was two hours ago. And I've heard nothing.

I have been feeling uneasy for a while about the way my case was being handled. Things had moved achingly slowly from the start. It took four days from the first threat before someone was assigned to my case. The only arrests made had been of people who were so easy to find even I could have tracked them down - or of people where the media had done the work and then informed the police.

There have been no arrests of the many other people who sent me gruesome and graphic death and rape threats, who told me they would mutilate my genitals, burn my flesh while my children watched, rape me until my body fell apart. Given how quickly the media managed to track down my abusers, I had been wondering what had been taking so long, why hadn't I heard anything. Now I'm wondering if it's because the police don't even know about those threats, because I didn't report them individually.

This experience has left me feeling utterly hopeless and powerless. I had always felt like the police didn't really understand the impact this experience had on me. I'd always felt that, while they had seemed perfectly pleasant, they didn't really treat the case with any sense of urgency, of importance. I'd always felt almost apologetic for asking this to be investigated, for letting this affect me so deeply. And now I feel that I was right to feel like that.

Given this experience, given this attitude, given how I've been made to feel, would I report the abuse again?

Frankly, no I wouldn't. I simply don't see the point.

Caroline Criado-Perez, right, on the day of the banknote announcement. Photo: Getty

Caroline Criado-Perez is a freelance journalist and feminist campaigner. She is also the co-founder of The Women's Room and tweets as @CCriadoPerez.

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The 5 things the Tories aren't telling you about their manifesto

Turns out the NHS is something you really have to pay for after all. 

When Theresa May launched the Conservative 2017 manifesto, she borrowed the most popular policies from across the political spectrum. Some anti-immigrant rhetoric? Some strong action on rip-off energy firms? The message is clear - you can have it all if you vote Tory.

But can you? The respected thinktank the Institute for Fiscal Studies has now been through the manifesto with a fine tooth comb, and it turns out there are some things the Tory manifesto just doesn't mention...

1. How budgeting works

They say: "a balanced budget by the middle of the next decade"

What they don't say: The Conservatives don't talk very much about new taxes or spending commitments in the manifesto. But the IFS argues that balancing the budget "would likely require more spending cuts or tax rises even beyond the end of the next parliament."

2. How this isn't the end of austerity

They say: "We will always be guided by what matters to the ordinary, working families of this nation."

What they don't say: The manifesto does not backtrack on existing planned cuts to working-age welfare benefits. According to the IFS, these cuts will "reduce the incomes of the lowest income working age households significantly – and by more than the cuts seen since 2010".

3. Why some policies don't make a difference

They say: "The Triple Lock has worked: it is now time to set pensions on an even course."

What they don't say: The argument behind scrapping the "triple lock" on pensions is that it provides an unneccessarily generous subsidy to pensioners (including superbly wealthy ones) at the expense of the taxpayer.

However, the IFS found that the Conservatives' proposed solution - a "double lock" which rises with earnings or inflation - will cost the taxpayer just as much over the coming Parliament. After all, Brexit has caused a drop in the value of sterling, which is now causing price inflation...

4. That healthcare can't be done cheap

They say: "The next Conservative government will give the NHS the resources it needs."

What they don't say: The £8bn more promised for the NHS over the next five years is a continuation of underinvestment in the NHS. The IFS says: "Conservative plans for NHS spending look very tight indeed and may well be undeliverable."

5. Cutting immigration costs us

They say: "We will therefore establish an immigration policy that allows us to reduce and control the number of people who come to Britain from the European Union, while still allowing us to attract the skilled workers our economy needs." 

What they don't say: The Office for Budget Responsibility has already calculated that lower immigration as a result of the Brexit vote could reduce tax revenues by £6bn a year in four years' time. The IFS calculates that getting net immigration down to the tens of thousands, as the Tories pledge, could double that loss.

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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