Figures obtained by the BBC show 11% of court cases in 2014 for the crime of meeting a child following sexual grooming used vigilante evidence, rising to 44% in 2016.
NPCC reminds people that whilst we may consider working with these groups in certain instances, our approach to these groups has not changed.
National Police Chiefs Council Lead for Child Protection, Chief Constable Simon Bailey said
“We understand the desire to protect children but any member of the public who has information about child sexual abuse, online or otherwise, should get in contact with the police so we can investigate and bring people to justice. So called paedophile hunters are taking risks they don’t understand and can undermine police investigations. Most importantly, unlike our officers, they have no way of safeguarding child victims.
“Our approach to these groups has not changed. We may consider working with these groups in certain instances, if it helps us protect children and we can manage the risks of their involvement. But this is not the solution to the problem of abuse. We are tackling child abuse by using undercover officers and covert resources to catch those seeking to groom children online. We need technology and software companies to support us by doing more to prevent offenders using their platforms to prey on children.”