Police officer arrested over Nicola Brookes Facebook abuse

Nicola Brookes
Image caption Nicola Brookes said the abuse started after she posted a message about an X Factor star

A serving West Midlands Police officer has been arrested after a woman was abused on the internet.

Nicola Brookes, 45, from Brighton, was falsely portrayed as a paedophile and drug dealer on Facebook.

The 32-year-old officer has been bailed on suspicion of misuse of a computer.

Ms Brookes was granted a High Court order in June asking the social networking giant to reveal the IP addresses of those who abused her so she could prosecute them.

She said the abuse started after she posted a supportive message about X Factor contestant Frankie Cocozza when he left the show last year.

'Emails hacked'

West Midlands Police said the policeman arrested was not a frontline officer and had not been suspended.

He has been bailed to 19 October as inquiries continue.

"West Midlands Police is assisting Sussex Police in connection with an ongoing inquiry regarding a serving West Midlands Police officer," a police spokesman said.

"The investigation is ongoing by Sussex Police and the allegations do not relate to use of police systems."

Sussex Police said the Birmingham man was arrested on 21 August "following the investigation into online harassment of a Brighton woman".

"The complaint from the victim relates to abuse that she received whilst using her Facebook account and also that her account and emails had been hacked into by an unknown source," the Sussex force said.

"Officers examined her computer as part of an ongoing investigation to try and trace the source of the abuse and security breach."

'Trolled relentlessly'

Ms Brookes said fake Facebook profiles had been set up in her name, using her photo, to post explicit comments and her daughter was also targeted.

"We need something that protects people because the system that Facebook has in place does not work. I have been trolled relentlessly," she said.

She had received more than 3,000 insults over the internet and was "angry and disgusted".

Facebook said demands for information, such as IP addresses, must be backed up by a court order.

A spokesman added the firm respected its legal obligations and worked with law enforcement to ensure those who harass other users were brought to justice.

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