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VPD wants changes to Criminal Code to tackle cyber-bullying

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Vancouver Police are calling for changes to the laws to help them better deal with cyber-bullying.

This comes as Ottawa looks to fast-track new legislation.

The police department is taking aim at bullying done through social media or with new technology; it’s proposing the country broaden the part of the Criminal Code that deals with false messages and indecent and harassing telephone calls.

The law would come with a maximum two-year prison term.

Barry Cartwright of SFU’s School of Criminology agrees the laws need to catch up to the times.

“Cyber-bullying is very poorly policed. Cyberspace is big and generally people feel they can get away with just about anything in cyberspace.”

However, he notes the law should focus on persistent, criminal acts. “It’s very difficult to legislate out uncivil behaviours like teasing or making fun of people if they are not particularly malicious, if you try to criminalize somebody saying they don’t like someone.”

The prime minister has said police may need new tools to keep up with change.