A NEW service to manage online threats against MSPs is to be trialled for a year by the Scottish Parliament.

Following the shock murder of Tory MP David Amess in 2021, the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SCPB) initiated a review of personal security provision for MSPs and staff. 

The review identified immediate actions and longer-term projects, one of which was a trial of a social media monitoring service to manage threats against MSPs.

An email sent to MSPs on Wednesday states the service - due to launch on June 12 - will operate as an opt-in programme and will be delivered by a former Parliament police unit inspector who has been recruited on a two-year appointment as an information security analyst.

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The service will search for threatening and abusive language across open-source data available on social media platforms with the aim of providing early notice to MSPs who have opted to use the service of any potential online threats towards them. 

It will work with organisations including Police Scotland to then offer tailored support.

A Scottish Parliament spokesperson said: “The SPCB is acutely aware of the rising level of online abuse and intimidation towards elected representatives.

“This pilot service will help us to escalate potentially criminal matters to Police Scotland.

“It will also highlight other in-house sources of support to help MSPs and their staff stay safe online.”

So far six MSPs have agreed to take part and the SCPB is aiming for 20 to sign up for the pilot by the end of the first quarter on September 11.