Most say police and paedophile-hunters should link up if it puts more behind bars

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
September 18, 2017, 5:27 PM GMT+0

A quarter of Brits are concerned about the risks of potentially encouraging vigilantism

Police say they may have to work with vigilante paedophile hunters in future, after figures recently obtained by the BBC show the proportion of English, Welsh and Northern Irish court cases using vigilante evidence rose from 11% in 2014 to 44% in 2016.

While the police are nervous about potentially taking a course of action that might encourage vigilantism, this concern does not seem to be shared by the British public. New YouGov research finds that 58% of Brits believe it would be worth police working with vigilante paedophile-hunters if it means they catch more predatory paedophiles.

A quarter (25%) are concerned that the potential reward of catching more paedophiles is outweighed by the prospect that the police working with hunter groups could encourage vigilantism and they would prefer the authorities to find alternative ways to persure offenders. A further 17% say they “don’t know”.

While men are ten percentage points more likely than women (30% vs 20%) to think the police should not encourage vigilantism, women are five points more likely to say working with vigilantes would be worth it (61% vs 56%).

Two thirds (67%) of Conservative voters favour the police working with paedophile-hunting vigilantes, while under a quarter (23%) are cautious about encouraging vigilantism. Labour voters’ views are similar to those of the general population, while Liberal Democrat voters are significantly less likely to support the authorities teaming up with vigilantes (49%) and notably more likely to want the police to seek alternative ways of pursuing child molesters (25%).

Photo: Getty