Cleveland Police have said a man was falsely accused of online activity with a child on a Facebook page.
Three men turned up to a Middlesbrough address and knocked on the door for a period of time until other people in the street came out of their house to watch what was going on.
At that stage, the three men told everyone watching that there was no need to worry because they were investigating a child sex offender who lived within the address.
bystanders then called police for assistance officers responded to an address in Middlesbrough officers attended and arrested a man at an address.
The group believes the actions they took are acceptable because the man was in his address and was not answering his door meaning despite being found innocent he has something to hide.
The Cost Child Safety Team attended the address say they did so because they’d passed information to police in August 2019 however claim that they had a right to be informed by police of an outcome.
Because police had not called them back to inform them of the outcome of a report they made to police accusing the man of being a child sex offender they decided to take the law into their own hands by launching there own investigation.
They landed at the address hoping to question the man on his doorstep and accuse him of child sex grooming on a Facebook page.
They did not receive an answer at the door so they decided to knock their neighboring houses and asking who lived at the address and began explaining that they are investigating online activity with a child on a Facebook page and that the man had committed child sex offences.
After police officers were carrying out inquiries, Cleveland Police would like to make it very clear that COST Child Safety Team have wrongly accused and shamed an innocent man of offences.
Cleveland Police have now released the man with no further action after he was unfairly accused of offences he hasn’t committed on social media channels, which has had a detrimental impact on his family, employment, and personal life.
Whilst police do investigate the information supplied by groups such as this, we do not condone their actions in confronting suspects. We know that groups have the best of intentions, however, we would advise people not to carry out their own enquiries.
People should contact police and raise their concerns so that specialist officers can investigate thoroughly and in the safest possible way for all involved.
Showing no remorse the child safety team then issued a statment defending their actions and blaming the police.
Within the statement it clearly demonstrates that the group do not seem to know the impact this has had on an innocent man’s life blaming the man for not answering the door and blaming Cleveland Police for taking no action.
Despite the group knowing the man had been released without charge they then took to Facebook to name and shame the man.
Then they go on to blame the police for making an unlawful arrest based on the evidence the group passed to responding officers saying it was not the group’s fault it is the officer who decides who they arrest not them.
“Ourselves at Team Cost would like to reiterate that we did not live stream anything that happened on Wednesday night in Middlesbrough.
“We attended the address on the back of intelligence given to us by the decoy team.
“When the male in question was arrested, members of the public wrongly speculated as to who was arrested.
Because of this, we had to release the correct males name who had been arrested.
“As a team, we will always hold ourselves accountable.
However, on this occasion, firstly we acted on other people’s intelligence.
“Secondly, we have not live-streamed or put a photo up of the person arrested.
“Thirdly, after finding out from Cleveland Police Facebook page that the male in question was No further actioned, we updated the page immediately.
“We would also like to add that the team who asked us to go out on their behalf, Angel’s of the Innocence, are not to blame either.
“They simply asked us to follow up a line of enquiry, which we did.”
Within video released online they then accuse Cleveland Police of not doing their job properly stating it is impossible to investigate a crime like this within 12 hours implying guilty man could have walked free because they’ve not had time to examine his mobile and laptop devices.
They then state they believe it is ok that a man was arrested based on the evidence they handed to cops that resulted in his arrest but despite supplying the evidence it is the Cleveland Police fault for making a false arrest and not the groups as they do not have police powers.
It’s really sad that the group cannot see the impact they have had on an innocent mans.
This is something that will haunt him forever.
Cases like this are why the police cannot work with or endorse such groups.
New laws need to be introduced to prevent these groups from operating and enabling these groups that act in an unlawful manner to be arrested themselfs.
These activities waste police time, these matters must be left to the police and not these online groups who seem to feel like they can take the law into their own hands.
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