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Police may work with paedophile hunters in future admits Norfolk Police Chief Constable

Chief Constable Simon Bailey at Norfolk Constabulary Headquarters, Wymondham. Photo : Steve Adams

Chief Constable Simon Bailey at Norfolk Constabulary Headquarters, Wymondham. Photo : Steve Adams

Copyright Archant Norfolk 2015

Norfolk Police Chief Constable Simon Bailey has admitted police may need to work with so-called paedophile hunters despite claims the groups are putting children’s lives at risk.

Channel 4 handout photo of Stinson Hunter. Picture Richard Ansett/Channel 4. Channel 4 handout photo of Stinson Hunter. Picture Richard Ansett/Channel 4.

Mr Bailey, who is the national lead for child protection at the National Police Chiefs’ Council, made the concession after a BBC investigation found a rise in evidence from the groups being used in court.

It was revealed that while 11pc of court cases in 2014 for the crime of meeting a child following sexual grooming used vigilante evidence, this rose to 44pc to 2016.

The vigilante groups often pose as children online they film people they meet.

But Mr Bailey told the BBC: “[These] vigilante groups are putting the lives of children at risk.

“They might not perceive it that way, but they are potentially compromising our operations.”

However, despite police across the country urging the groups to stop, this had not happened.

Now, Mr Bailey said police may have to work with the groups in the future.

MORE: Norfolk chief constable’s warning to so-called paedophile hunters

He said: “I think that’s something we’re going to have to potentially have to look at, yes, but it comes with some real complexity.

“I’m not going to condone these groups and I would encourage them all to stop, but I recognise that I am not winning that conversation.”

And in a series of tweets posted this morning (Monday) Mr Bailey also turned his attention to internet service providers.

He added: “[The groups] are not the solution to the threat of grooming, the solution is the service providers ensuring children can use the web safely. We are doing more to protect children than ever before we cannot meet the threat alone. The time has come for tech companies to meet their moral and social responsibility.”

In December last year a video filmed at Norwich Railway Station by so-called paedophile hunters appeared online.

Stinson Hunter, who featured in Channel 4 documentary The Paedophile Hunter, posed as a teenage girl before meeting with a man in the city.

When the man arrived at the station, carrying flowers, he was met by Mr Hunter and his colleagues who filmed the incident.

It is not clear when the video was filmed but it was posted on social media and has been shared thousands of times.

Mr Hunter also shared the full chat logs between the pair on Facebook.

In one message Mr Hunter wrote: “Thank you but I should be honest and tell you I’m only 14.” The man replied with: “To young you should be at school then.”

The man later insists the pair should meet up. He wrote: “I int a prevert buy the way u seem a nice person.”

In other messages the man wrote “I could be peter pan and u could be my wendy” and after one reply he said “Is that all I get bk lol.”

At the time. police confirmed the video was from to an old case, which was referred to them in June 2015. The matter was investigated, suspect identified, and no further action taken.

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