Police Officers across the UK are being urged to investigate any potential harassment, privacy or violence offences which are committed by paedophile vigilante groups.
Groups across the UK are surging in popularity with many groups live streaming and working hard to out do other vigilante groups in many cases violent confrontations are taking place in an attempt to rake in the live viewers.
These live viewers are then told the name, address and details of the persons actions live on the internet, many vigilantes shout and scream at the suspect waiting up to half an hour before they even consider contacting the police to ensure their encounter is not stopped or hindered by the police.
Police are now being urged to get tougher with the paedophile hunting groups who are on the rise.
Cops will now be asked to consider any harassment, privacy or violent offences they may have committed while tracking down and confronting the vigilante groups.
Guidance was issued to detectives in 2017 and warned that such groups have no consideration for the safeguarding requirements of the victims and could cause live cases to crumble in court due to the tactics being deployed by these groups.
Scott Rivers a so-called paedo hunter walked into Heavitree Police Station in Exeter dressed as Batman on November 20th 2017.
He handed over evidence of a child sex offender and was handed an official ‘cease and desist letter’ which is an official order handed down by a government agency or court directing a person or entity to stop doing something immediately.
They firmly believed that Mr Rivers was proactively trying to entrap people by posing as a girl under the age of 16.
A spokesman said: “While his aims seem laudable, we are asking him to stop undertaking these entrapment activities for a number of reasons.
“Firstly, this type of vigilante work could disrupt on-going police or other law enforcement operations on known websites, groups or individuals. ‘It also places the man in question at risk of allegations of criminality in his own activities, for example incitement.
“He is also potentially wasting police time as the Crown Prosecution Service current stance is to question any attempt to prosecute where evidence is gathered by private entrapment or an unregulated ‘agent provocateur’, and not through regulated police operations.
“Finally and most importantly, it could divert genuine victims away from reporting offenders to the police or other authorities.
“If you have any concerns about the online habits of any adult, or fear that your child could be at risk, then please contact the police.”
Police forces across the UK have been issued internal guidance which suggests that vigilante groups are destroying evidence relating to their confrontations and the evidence they collect lacks that required for the Crown to bring prosecution.
The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) says: “The techniques used by vigilantes will often be very different to those employed by the police and may involve the commission of offences by the vigilantes.
“In such circumstances, it is important that the police bring any potential offences committed by the vigilante to the attention of the charging lawyer.”
Officers have been further warned that they must not work with groups or endorse their activities in any way.
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