Groups of vigilantes are incorrectly identifying individuals who are then attacked, wrongly accused on even taking their own lives, states Simon Bailey, head of child protections at the National Police Chiefs’ Council.
He has ruled out working with such groups even though evidence from them is increasingly being used to prosecute suspects.
Mr Bailey states that they are destroying people’s live in the name of Facebook likes and that their evidence and work can impede and slow down Police investigations and evidence and are taking unnecessary risks.
He admitted that they have led to convictions, however, also stated that they had led to individuals being blackmailed, assaulted and committing suicide, without actually being convicted of an offence.
Simon Bailey is the Chief Constable of Norfolk Police and said that a referral from a paedophile hunting group could take as much time for Police to investigate as could be spent in identifying half a dozen offenders.
Whilst his aim is to safeguard children, he claims that many of the groups are being driven to identify as many people as possible in order to seek fame and increase their social media reach and popularity.
He also stated that social media companies were not doing enough to protect children from abuse and that the number of images contained on the national child abuse database had increased from less than 10,000 in the 90’s to more than 13,400,000 currently.
His recent comments show a change in thinking from what he stated in 2017, where he was quoted as suggesting that working with such vigilante groups was something for Police to consider.
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