Katie Locke murder: Online dating can add 'an extra layer of security', says Tony Neate from Get Safe Online

Online dating can add 'an extra layer of security' if you use it to your advantage, claims  Tony Neate from Get Safe Online

Don't throw caution to the wind when dating online, advise Get Safe Online

Friday, June 3, 2016

The recent murder of 23-year-old teacher Katie Locke by a man she met on a dating website has underlined the need for people to take sensible precautions when looking for love online, a prominent internet safety advisor has told talkRADIO. 

Carl Langdell, from Cheshunt in Hertfordshire, strangled and sexually assaulted Ms Locke on Christmas Eve 2015 after meeting her online. At his sentencing last week he was told he would spend "at least 26 years" in prison. 

But according to Tony Neate, chief executive of the organisation Get Safe Online, using the web to find love can provide an extra layer of security than a more 'traditional' encounter.

“I was a policeman for 30 years and have dealt with this sort of thing for 20 years," he told Yasmeen Khan. 

"The saddest stories I ever hear are about dating online, so we need to safeguard ourselves.

"I’m very pro the internet and I am passionate about people being secure on there.

"I think dating online actually adds an extra layer of security that you don’t have when you meet [someone] for a coffee or in a pub or club. 

“[Online] is a great place to be, a great place to find love. But we need to make sure we do it securely, or things like [the Katie Locke murder] can happen." 

Getting a second opinion and doing some further research on a potential date are both recommended by Neate, who set up South Wales police's hi-tech crime unit. 

"Ask somebody else - get somebody else to look at what you’re looking at," he said. "We get rose-tinted glasses and we think everything's going to be fantastic. So what do they see that you're not seeing?"

Looking up potential dates on Facebook or other social media, researching where they live or what they do for a living are all actions that Neate recommends.

"If they really care about you and you connect with them, they won't care [about you doing some research]," he said. 

"If they're the right person they'll laugh and say I don't blame you."