Letzgo Hunting entraps men looking for sex with children on the internet – but police says it’s not a good idea
A BRITISH vigilante organisation called Letzgo Hunting is ensnaring online paedophiles by creating fake digital profiles of children, and then handing over details of the offenders to police – but only after they have made contact with the suspected paedophiles in person.
Now the group has come under fire from the police and child protection charities such as the NSPCC who claim that Letzgo Hunting, which was inspired by an American TV show, can jeopardise official investigations.
The Daily Mail met three members of Letzgo Hunting who claimed the group was currently in contact with 30 suspected paedophiles.
Their modus operandi is to pose as underage girls in online chatrooms and cultivate sexually explicit relationships with men there.
After arranging to meet up in real life, the suspects are then confronted by members of Letzgo Hunting, who frequently film the encounters and post them online.
The group, which was founded in January, claims to be running 80 fake profiles across 20 websites. It hands dossiers on the men it ensnares to police. According to the Mail, there have been nine arrests as a result of the group’s activities, though no charges have been brought against anyone.
Although Letzgo Hunting claims its system is “foolproof” in identifying suspects and its members do not condone violence, there is a worry that other vigilantes will make use of the posted information to attack the men involved.
The police are also concerned about the potential danger to their own investigations. Chief Constable Dave Whatton of the Association of Chief Police Officers warns that “revealing the identity of suspected paedophiles gives the suspect the opportunity to destroy evidence before the police can investigate them. It also leads to people who have been identified going missing, or it raises concerns for their safety.
“This can divert significant resources into protecting suspects, which would be better spent in investigating and, where there is evidence, prosecuting them.” ·