Published: 14:15, 05 August 2021
| Updated: 15:56, 05 August 2021
The Met has confirmed 11 men were arrested as part of their investigation into racial abuse after the Euro 2020 final.
Among them was a man from Folkestone who was detained by Kent Police.
Three players – Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Buyako Saka – were victims of abuse after they missed penalties in the shoot-out defeat at Wembley last month.
The UK Football Policing Unit say its investigation team has received more than 600 reports from individuals, charities, clubs and other organisations across the country, and 207 were criminal in nature, with 34 accounts identified as being in the UK.
The unit has made data requests to social media companies to progress further investigations, and where there have been responses, the information has been passed on to local police forces.
Those forces, including Kent Police, have arrested the 11 people on suspicion of a number of offences, including malicious communications and breaching section 127 of the Communications Act 2003.
They range in age from 18 to 63, and outside of Kent include three people from London, two from Dorset, and individuals from Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Reading, Shrewsbury and Worcester.
"There are people who believe they can hide behind a social media profile... they need to think again"
All 11 have either been released under investigation, or bailed to return at a later date.Among them was a 49-year-old who was accused of posting a racist rant on a Facebook page after the match.
Of the 207 criminal social media posts, 123 accounts belong to individuals outside the United Kingdom and the details of those people and cases are being passed on to the relevant countries to act on them.
The unit is waiting for data from social media companies on the remaining 50 account holders.
Chief Constable Mark Roberts, National Police Chiefs’ Council football policing lead, said: “There are people out there who believe they can hide behind a social media profile and get away with posting such abhorrent comments.
“They need to think again – we have investigators proactively seeking out abusive comments in connection to the match and, if they meet a criminal threshold, those posting them will be arrested.
“Our investigation is continuing at pace and we are grateful for those who have taken time to report racist posts to us.
“The complexities of investigating social media abuse cannot be underestimated. A vast amount of work has gone in to identifying these 11 individuals. I would like to thank Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for responding to our requests promptly.
“In the meantime, we are seeking engagement with the players themselves to offer our support, and seek their input for our investigation and subsequent prosecutions in conjunction with the CPS.”