Peter Bleksley, a former Metropolitan police officer has said that he does not have a problem with so-called ‘paedophile hunters’ but that he feels their need to live-stream confrontations as a “lust for likes and views” on social media.
Paedophile hunting groups have defended their actions after it was revealed that eight men had killed themselves after being named as sex offenders online.
Dark Justice is an example of one of these groups, which poses as teenagers online with an aim of exposing adults looking for sex with children. They have been active in the North East for the last four years.
Mr Bleksley told talkRADIO’s Eamonn Holmes: “The police just don’t have the resources but I would ask these people to exercise some caution with the live-streaming of the confrontations when they track these people down.”
“This smacks a bit of trial by social media before they have actually been in front of a court of law and got convicted.”
He added: “They can show this footage of the confrontation once these people have been to court, been convicted and had their sentence passed down.
“Their lust for likes or views on social media as they stream it live is something that makes me feel a little bit uncomfortable.”
Mr Bleksley said that there was work for these groups, “if they are acting lawfully” due to police cuts.
“The police have had their resources in recent years and they have an overwhelming workload in just about every kind of regard and they cannot cope,” he said.
“There have been a lot of senior police officers on TV or radio saying that they don’t support this kind of work that is done by these paedophile hunter groups.
“I have always had the opinion that if they are acting lawfully and if they know how to gather and preserve the evidence properly, then there is clearly a sufficient workload for them unfortunately.
“The workload is too much for the police to handle so why not?”