A FACEBOOK group set up to inform parents about the location of convicted paedophiles has attracted more than 1,600 members – but has been slammed by police.
The group names and shames offenders across South Cumbria, telling followers where they live and what they have done.
One of the group’s administrators says they are not doing anything illegal but simply running a legitimate group to protect children.
But a leading detective branded the site as “inappropriate”, claiming it could create more danger to the public by forcing offenders to go underground.
The group’s page, which was set up just two weeks ago, says: “This is non-violence page (sic) we do not support physical attacks. This page is just to expose and educate.
“The most important thing is the protection of our children and grandchildren.
“Just to recap this is to expose convicted abusers not hearsay.”
Keilly Devlin, a Barrow mum-of-three, is an administrator for the group and believes it helps protect children and inform parents.
The 37-year-old said: “From my point of view and the reason I joined is because it highlights convicted paedophiles living in our area.
“It basically names them so parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles know who the paedophiles are and what they’ve been convicted of, so parents can make an informed choice of where they let their children play. We are vigilant not vigilante.
“We are totally fed-up with paedophiles, child molesters being protected from us caring parents and our children. This country seems to have its laws twisted. How can it be right? Paedophiles have more rights to protection than our innocent, trusting children.”
Miss Devlin added that she was worried about the backlash from the police but the group had been running for some time and not one person had been threatened or hurt.
She added: “All the information we put on our (page) is from local papers and also information gathered from the Freedom of Information (Act).
“At the end of the day we don’t feel we are being informed or our children protected, we are running a legitimate group, we’re not doing anything illegal, we’re just trying to protect our children.
“The police will probably say that the paedophiles that have been named will just go underground. But, if this was to hopefully take off in every town or city in the country in a paedophile version of neighbourhood watch the paedophiles wouldn’t be able to go underground, they would stay right where we can see them; the country and more importantly our children would be a lot safer.
“It would be great if we could have a national database with pictures, convictions and locations of these people.”
Detective Inspector Nick Coughlan, speaking on behalf of the police and Cumbria Probation Trust, said: “Protecting the public is the absolute priority.
“We work closely, 24/7, to manage the risks of offenders living in our communities and sites like this, where members of the public want to take matters into their own hands, are inappropriate and undermine what agencies work to achieve.
“Dedicated teams from police and other MAPPA (Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangement) agencies continue to put in place measures to protect the public when offenders are housed in any community by ensuring offenders are identified and their activities are controlled.
“Should information about individuals’ living arrangements be released, offenders may go underground where they could not be effectively managed and supervised – causing a greater risk to the public.
“The comments on the site are not regulated and information may be incorrect and extremely harmful.”