Adherence to these guidelines will ensure that there is a consistency of approach across the CPS.

The guidelines cover the offences that are likely to be most commonly committed by the sending of communications via social media.

This test has two stages: the first is the requirement of evidential sufficiency and the second involves consideration of the public interest.

As far as the evidential stage is concerned, a prosecutor must be satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction.

Detailed guidance is provided on the approach to be taken to reviewing cases that come within category 4, in particular on how to assess the evidential and public interest stages of the Full Code Test, and the relevance of Article 10 ECHR to these offences.

Prosecutors should make an initial assessment of the content of the communication and the conduct in question so as to distinguish between: Communications which may constitute threats of violence to the person or damage to property.

These guidelines equally apply to the re-sending (or re-tweeting / sharing) of communications and whenever they refer to the sending of a communication, the guidelines should also be read as applying to the re-sending of a communication.

However, for the reasons set out below, the context in which any communication is sent will be highly material.

Cases involving the sending of communications via social media are likely to benefit from early consultation between police and prosecutors, and the police are encouraged to contact the CPS at an early stage of the investigation.

This Part addresses the offences commonly committed via social media and identifies four distinct categories of offences.

Offences under the Contempt of Court Act 1981 or section 5 of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1992 also require the consent of the Attorney General and may be sent to the DLA for his consideration if assistance is required.