News has emerged that police have arrested a 16-year old boy in Glasgow, for allegedly using Facebook in an attempt to stir up trouble in what is Scotland’s largest city.
Strathclyde police has confirmed it has detained a youth following a raid on a property today in the south of Glasgow.
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A post had appeared on Facebook, inviting people to follow the rioting and looting that has been blighting London and other English cities in recent days. The Facebook member, thought to be from Cessnock, in the south of the city, had claimed in a follow-up message that he had become “the most hated man in Glasgow”, for setting up a page called “Glasgow Riot Friday 12th August 2011” yesterday evening.
As the Guardian reports, he had been using the name Zander McQuarrie on Twitter, and had described himself as “sweet sixteen, from CESSNOCK [sic], love watchin the rangers, love goin to the hamilton games and fighting with the other mobs!!!!!!!”
Fiona Taylor, a Chief Constable with Strathclyde Police, said:
“This detention shows that we are monitoring the situation closely and we will take decisive action to prevent anyone inciting violence of any kind in Glasgow or anywhere else in the force area. Communities in London and other cities in England have been outraged at the disgraceful scenes of destruction and looting that they have witnessed, and we are sure that communities here would be just as horrified to think that anyone was trying to incite similar acts of mindless criminality. The action we took today should act as a strong warning to anyone who is thinking of causing trouble here.”
Whilst Strathclyde police said it had no knowledge of any planned trouble in the region, it was still monitoring the situation, and a police officer from Starthclyde Police suggested that they were watching social networking websites given the role they have seemingly played in mobilizing and organizing rioters on the ground elsewhere.
Yesterday, we reported that BlackBerry maker RIM was prepared to work with police over the London riots, as it’s believed that BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) has been a key communications tool for the rioters. But earlier on today, it emerged that the Metropolitan Police was also harnessing the powers of social networks, by posting images of suspected rioters and looters on its Flickr page.
And it turns out that Wigan Police have also arrested a man on suspicion of inciting disorder using social media, with Greater Manchester Police tweeting this message earlier:
There’s sure to be more similar incidents happening in the days that follow, and here’s hoping the trouble that has blighted London doesn’t spread like wildfire across the country.