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Thread: Police forces struggle to contain digital vigilante groups taking the law into their own hands

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    Police forces struggle to contain digital vigilante groups taking the law into their own hands

    https://inews.co.uk/news/uk/digital-...roups-justice/

    . It was impossible this week not to feel sympathy for the vulnerable 49-year-old woman from Bury St Edmunds who was pelted with eggs and flour by a gang of teenagers. Then, when pictures emerged on social media of the four boys posing with their humiliated, cowering victim, sympathy soon turned to anger. Who were these young deviants who thought their behaviour was beyond the law? The attack sent social media into a frenzy, triggering angry calls on Facebook for the boys to be horse-whipped and their ?heads to be ripped from their shoulders?, while the names and addresses of the young men were quickly made public. Plenty of people were so appalled, they wanted to take the law into their own hands. Fortunately for the suspects, the police got to them first and several arrests were made.



    But once the forces of vigilante justice have been unleashed, the law of unintended consequences quickly follows. Falsely attributed One man who had the misfortune of sharing the same name and appearance of one of the gang found himself targeted by online commenters, forcing him to publish a statement on Facebook declaring his innocence. The man, who cannot be named, wrote: ?There?s a photo doing the rounds at the moment of a group of young boys harassing an elderly woman in Bury. They?ve been named and shamed and one of them happens to also be called [name redacted]. ?I would just like to clarify I?m not that [name redacted] and THAT?S NOT ME IN THE PHOTO.?

    And he pleaded: ?I?m much older than the boys in the photo and now that?s cleared up, I would appreciate it if people stopped messaging me/threatening me about this.? Robin Armstrong, who has achieved a degree of fame by posting bully-shaming videos, told his 750,000 followers he wanted to ?lead the way? in finding the youths. ?You little f***ing nothings have been over to an old woman with disabilities, poured water all over her head and then poured flour all over and stopped for a photograph,? he said. ?That photograph says a thousand things ? I don?t even have to say any words. ?You scummy little wankers. You deserve to have your heads ripped off your shoulders. I?ve got your names now, so I?m going to put your names in the comments and your profiles in the comments. You?re going to be chased out of your city ? hunted down.? The ?Name and shame? campaign Such venomous demands for mob justice were so threatening that the parents of the boys asked for police protection. But the shocking events in Suffolk ? and the immediate naming and shaming on social media ? follow an all-too-familiar pattern. Police forces across the nation are finding their resources stretched as they not only have to contend with the crime but also the public backlash stirred up by online reporting. Yet, in many ways, we have been here before. In 2010, there was a rash of cases where innocent people were harassed and hounded in their communities after the News of the World ran a campaign to ?name and shame? alleged sex offenders. More from iweekend Previous Hotel Review: Knoll House in Dorset is the definition of traditional charm Head to the Andaman Islands for splendid isolation, abundant nature and next to no internet 20 refreshing wines to drink in the heat How I saved ?5,000 in one year on a ?22,000 salary in London How we live on a combined salary of ?53,700 while saving for a home 'I get ?150 extra each month': The benefits of company share schemes Hotel Review: Knoll House in Dorset is the definition of traditional charm Head to the Andaman Islands for splendid isolation, abundant nature and next to no internet 20 refreshing wines to drink in the heat How I saved ?5,000 in one year on a ?22,000 salary in London How we live on a combined salary of ?53,700 while saving for a home 'I get ?150 extra each month': The benefits of company share schemes Next In one case, a paediatric doctor in south Wales was targeted because people confused her job title with the word ?paedophile?. She was forced to flee her house in the middle of the night after vandals daubed it with graffiti. Professor David Wall, of Leeds University, is a criminologist researching crime and policing in the digital era. He argues that the recent rise in the number of so-called paedophile hunter groups has exacerbated the problem of online vigilantism, especially when it comes to sex crimes. Criminal law in the UK does not directly outlaw vigilantism ? but that does not mean these groups are above the law. Paedophile hunters often physically confront the people they believe to be offenders, and false imprisonment, kidnapping, battery, affray and assault are all criminal offences. Vigilante societies Among Britain?s most high-profile vigilante groups are Dark Justice, Guardians Of The North, Silent Justice and Stinson Hunter, but there are believed to be around 70 more across the UK, some of which have links to far-right groups. Prof Wall added: ?Vigilantes certainly succeed in generating confrontations with the men they have targeted, but they also raise worrying questions about how their approach can incite wrongdoing and affect the work of the authorities.? Police chiefs have asked local forces to take tougher action on vigilante groups (Photo: PA) In one court case earlier this year, it emerged that the defendant had been duped into making contact with three separate fake victims, leading to claims that online vigilantism had mushroomed into a ?cottage industry?. Ron Hogg, the Police, Crime and Victims? Commissioner for Durham, where the trial was held, warned that paedophile hunters risked undermining police inquiries. ?Obviously, I?m grateful for the evidence which has led to a conviction in this case, but I don?t think there?s really a place for vigilante groups in policing,? he said. ?Too many times, they can undermine police investigations. I know that the public feels confident to submit evidence to the police so that they can do their job thoroughly and professionally.? Tougher police action National police chiefs are understood to have ordered local forces to take tougher action against vigilante groups if they suspect them of acting outside the law. The guidance, reported to have been issued to forces last year, tells officers to investigate potential harassment, privacy and violent offences committed by the vigilante groups, as well as those they accuse of child grooming. Specifically, officers have been told that vigilante groups have ?little or no consideration? for the safeguarding requirements of the victims of the paedophiles they have outed. Prof Wall warned of other long-term risks of online vigilantism that society may not have fully understood. ?We are not quite at the point where online public involvement in policing starts to mission-creep into a police-spy system, where everybody ends up reporting each other?s behaviour,? he said. ?We must, however, resolve the questions raised by online anti-paedophile vigilantism before it reaches the point where due process and the concept of justice become largely irrelevant.? Get daily news updates Subscribe to the newsletter Sign up today Subscribe to the National Newspaper Of The Year Find out more Most Popular Fantasy Premier League ? tips: 11 players to pick in your team Fantasy Football 50 funny fantasy football team names Fantasy Football Fantasy Premier League - tips: the pros and cons of every formation Fantasy Football How I saved ?5,000 in one year on a ?22,000 salary in London Money Slum landlord stuffs 31

    Read more at: https://inews.co.uk/news/uk/digital-...roups-justice/

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    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...ederation.html

    An Update

    Paedophile hunter teams across Britain are aiming to form a national federation to work more responsibly within the law, it was revealed today.

    The UK groups have formed over the past decade out of a perceived lack of action against child abusers - but face criticism amid claims they are lawless vigilantes.

    However, most of the teams insist they work within the law and pass on all their details to police, before leaving cases to the legal system after an arrest is made.

    Four teams from the Midlands and North of England have joined together on a job in Birmingham to track down and confront a suspected paedophile +4
    Four teams from the Midlands and North of England have joined together on a job in Birmingham to track down and confront a suspected paedophile

    Volunteers posed as underage girls in online chatrooms, had conversations with the man and claimed he sent them explicit photographs and videos +4
    Volunteers posed as underage girls in online chatrooms, had conversations with the man and claimed he sent them explicit photographs and videos

    Now, four teams from the Midlands and North of England have joined together on a job in Birmingham to track down and confront a suspected paedophile.

    Volunteers posed as underage girls in online chatrooms, had conversations with the man and claimed he sent them explicit photographs and videos.

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    Footage broadcast on Sky News showed the teams confronting him in the city centre, saying they were making a citizens' arrest due to his 'online activities'.

    The man apologised, but was told: 'No, no, no, we've listened to your conversations, we've seen your chats. Do you know what damage it can cause a child?

    'You can damage these children for the rest of their lives. Don't start with the crocodile now, we're not interested.'

    Footage broadcast on Sky News showed the teams confronting him in the city centre, saying they were making a citizens' arrest due to his 'online activities' +4
    Footage broadcast on Sky News showed the teams confronting him in the city centre, saying they were making a citizens' arrest due to his 'online activities'

    Hunters from the groups Justice4Kids and Undercover and Exposed were involved in the sting, which saw police turn up later on and take the man away for questioning.

    Just yesterday, a sheriff in Scotland warned paedophile hunters may need to be regulated after vigilantes caused an angry mob to besiege a sex offender's home.

    It came after Kenneth Long was exposed as a child sex predator in an online sting in Armadale, West Lothian, orchestrated by a group known as the Wolf Pack.

    When they turned up at Long's home in June, it attracted a large mob of locals -and one broke into his house, confronted his partner and set fire to a car outside.

    Hunters from the groups Justice4Kids and Undercover and Exposed were involved in the sting, which saw police turn up later on and take the man away for questioning +4
    Hunters from the groups Justice4Kids and Undercover and Exposed were involved in the sting, which saw police turn up later on and take the man away for questioning

    Sheriff Peter Hammond suggested that the activities of paedophile-hunting groups may 'require scrutiny and regulation' in light of the 'deplorable' scenes.

    Also yesterday, Tyneside-based paedophile hunters Dark Justice said that the issue is getting worse despite four years of their efforts to entrap would-be abusers.

    The duo who started in October 2014 said agencies were overwhelmed and sentences passed down to the men they caught out were becoming softer.

    But having survived a serious legal challenge, the group insisted they will carry on their actions which have seen 163 people arrested, 82 convicted and 44 jailed.

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    If you're going to fill this sub with vigilante threads too, you need to link at least some of the social media that makes them "Social Networking Criminals".

    If you don't have social media links for a case it doesn't belong here. This is a sub where the soc med accounts of criminals get linked so we can lurk on the shit they were posting.




    If someone died it should go in the correct death sub OR if no-one is dead it goes in News & Current Events (or Weird & Bizarre if there's a crazy ridiculous/funny crime involved).


    Most of these non-lethal "vigilante" articles you're posting should be going in the big "Vigilante Thread" that you made - & this isn't the first time this has been pointed out to you.



    You have to understand that this isn't a "study of vigilantism" forum


    I have personal interest topics too but I try to only post that shit in new threads 3-4 times a year max. The rest I keep limited to designated threads like the That's Racist thread, or Science & Tech. Even with my Exploding Whales thread I only add stuff every few years.

    I do this so I don't annoy other members by flooding them daily with articles that barely anyone but me really wants to read & because the MDS forum is for discussing deaths, it's not my personal "Blighted's weird obsessions" archive.

    There are plenty of places where you can start an archive of shit that you're fixated on - you could create your own Reddit sub, you could go to wordpress or livejournal etc.

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