A new team of specialist police officers is being set up to investigate online hate crimes, including abuse on Twitter and Facebook.
The hub will be based in London and will include a team of five officers who will support victims and identify online abuse.
The London Mayor’s Office said the two-year pilot will cost £1.7 million and has received £452,000 from the Home Office.
A spokesman said there was “no place for hate” in London and there would be “zero tolerance” of online abuse.
The team will be set up in the coming months and will identify the location of crimes and allocate them to the appropriate force.
They will then work with a team of volunteers.
The Mayor’s office for Policing and Crime said social media “provides hate crime perpetrators with a veil of anonymity, making it harder to bring them to justice and potentially impacting on a larger number of people”.
The team will also assist in training police officers and community groups in how to identify, report and challenge abuse.
A spokesperson for MoPaC said it was the first time a “dedicated police team had been set up to detect and respond to hate crimes”.
The spokesperson added: “Community groups in London have told us that online hate crime is an issue of increasing concern to them, and one for which the police response has in the past been inconsistent.”
We reported recently how tech-savvy social media users are increasingly likely to be targeted by ID theft.