Online trolling could become a criminal offence, the government says

Online trolling could become illegal in the UK.

The government will consider making the practice a criminal offence, the justice secretary David Gauke said.

The comments come after TV personality Katie Price gave evidence to a Commons committee on the issue after launching a campaign for tougher penalties for social media abuse.

Katie Price and her son Harvey leave Portcullis House in London after she gave evidence to the Commons Petitions Committee (Picture: PA)

Asked about Ms Price’s campaign, Mr Gauke told ITV’s Peston On Sunday: “I think we have to consider that. I mean what we see is some appalling behaviour on social media.”

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Ms Price told the Commons Petitions Committee last week that a line should be drawn between “banter” and criminal abuse but the law had failed to keep up with the changing use of technology.

Her 15-year-old son Harvey – who is partially blind, autistic and has Prader-Willi syndrome – was targeted on Twitter last year by an unnamed 19-year-old who received a caution from Sussex Police.

Justice secretary David Gauke (Picture: PA)

But Ms Price told MPs that police had been powerless to act in other cases.

The TV personality also wants to see the creation of a register of offenders.