Sunday, May 12, 2019
Facebook protects many of these Facebook groups while banning registered persons from having accounts.
ITV REPORT 11 May 2019 at 12:00am
Paedophile hunters are destroying families ‘in the name of Facebook likes’
Family lives are being obliterated in the name of “Facebook likes”, a police chief who leads the country’s response to child sexual abuse said in a blistering attack on so-called paedophile hunters.
Simon Bailey emphatically ruled out working with vigilante groups, saying they take “completely unnecessary risks” and can slow down police investigators.
Evidence from paedophile hunters is increasingly being used to prosecute offenders, but police are divided on the issue, and some fear the groups’ tactics could impede their own work.
A brawl that erupted at a shopping centre after a vigilante group of ‘paedophile hunters’ confronted a man
It marks a shift from comments reported by the BBC in September 2017 when Mr Bailey was quoted as saying that working with vigilantes was something to potentially consider.
Mr Bailey, chief constable of Norfolk Police, said: “I can’t deny they’ve led to convictions, but they’ve also led to people being blackmailed, people being subject of GBH (grievous bodily harm), the wrong people being accused, people committing suicide as a result of interventions, family lives being completely destroyed, in the name of what? Facebook likes.”
David Baker, who was confronted by the group Southampton Trap after allegedly arranging to meet a 14-year-old child in a supermarket car park, took his own life a few days later.
The 43-year-old gardener from Hampshire was arrested by police, questioned and released under investigation in October 2017.
The coroner at his inquest ruled that social media posts by the vigilante group were a “causative factor” in his suicide.
'I can't imagine viewing those images again': Sex offender tells ITV News of rehabilitation therapy
Paedophile jailed after sending explicit messages to vigilantes posing as 13-year-old girl
Online groups’ activities have split opinion in policing circles, with some chiefs warning of “significant risks” that arise from paedophile hunters’ tactics.
These can include posing as children online to lure in suspects and set up real-world encounters in order to expose them.
Some police fear that the groups’ actions could interfere with surveillance operations, while the evidence they gather may not be of a high enough standard to use for prosecution.
Former police chief Jim Gamble told the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in early 2018 that masquerading as a child online should become a criminal offence to deter vigilante stings.
But Paddy Tipping, the police and crime commissioner for Nottinghamshire, told a police and crime panel in April last year that police in his area should try to form “better relationships” with vigilante groups.
Figures obtained by the BBC showed that evidence from paedophile hunters was used to charge suspects on at least 150 occasions in 2017.
Mr Bailey said a colleague had described to him how one referral from a group can take a working day to investigate, time that could have been spent identifying half a dozen offenders.
He added: “So many of these groups’ drivers are about seeking infamy through the number of hits they get, the number of likes they get, the number of people that view their live streams.
“My mission is to safeguard children. There’s a world of difference.”
The chief constable said there has never been so much commentary and awareness around child abuse, but urged vigilantes to leave it “to the experts”.
He warned: “Never before have the chances of being caught been so high.
“And for people that are doing it, they will be going to bed every night, I hope, fearing the knock on the door in the morning.”
Last updated Sat 11 May 2019
Friday, May 3, 2019
Na na na na HEY HEY HEY goodbye!
YouTube 'bans' Southampton anti-paedophile activist
8 hours ago
A self-styled paedophile hunter has said his channel has been permanently banned by YouTube.
Stephen Dure, who is also known as Stevie Trap, previously posted videos of himself confronting alleged sexual offenders in Hampshire.
He said he has been prohibited from ever owning or using a YouTube account.
The website said the channel had been terminated because of "multiple or severe violations" of policies against bullying and harassment.
Previously, YouTube said it made a "mistake" when it deleted the account in April.
Mr Dure, from Southampton, said the channel had been deleted and reinstated three times in the past.
He said: "I don't know what YouTube's problem is but I'm actually disgusted by the way they're treating me."
The campaigner said he was moving forward with plans to create his own website.
In a statement, YouTube said: "We terminate the accounts of repeat offenders."
In September, Mr Dure was jailed for 15 weeks for falsely accusing a man of grooming teenagers.
His wrongly-accused victim said he had been sacked and his home had been attacked as a result.
Mr Dure appeared in a BBC Inside Out programme in 2017, when he explained how he posed as children on the internet to "trap" sex offenders.
His YouTube and Facebook pages have shown videos of him making citizen's arrests after arranging meetings with suspects.
The TRAP Community Facebook page has more than 240,000 followers.