So-called ‘paedophile hunters’ should be recruited to work alongside police forces to help tackle child sexual exploitation says a leading police and crime commissioner.
The controversial and unregulated groups, which pose as under age children in online chat rooms to snare potential child abusers, have had success in catching paedophiles over the years, however, their vigilante approach to justice has been condemned by the Home Office and police in the past.
But Gwent police and crime commissioner, Jeff Cuthbert, believes having the police and such groups working alongside each other could take the pressure off the forces,
‘Let's work together’
"I understand in this and many other aspects of crime or anti-social behaviour that there is often an impatience and I can understand that when people want to get on with things,” said Cuthbert on BBC Wales' Week In Week Out programme.
"What we don't know of course is how many potential perpetrators have got away with it because it's not been done properly or walked away because it's not stood up in court, so it's a question of balance.”
'Paedophile hunting' is legal in the UK and most recently in April a judge ruled that a Newcastle based group, Dark Justice, could continue posing as children to catch sexual predators.
Cuthbert added, "The message is let's work together."
"Of course there are training implications, it would have to be done in a planned way - the right way - but I think in terms of the principle, it's the right way forward."