Living on a Thin Line #2 : The Emergence of Online Hunting Groups in the U.K.

Guest Post:

Late last year I wrote an article titled ‘Living on a Thin Line’ which focused on the current situation in the United Kingdom regarding the rise of private online hunting groups.

There have been some major recent developments regarding this new phenomenon which have prompted me to write a follow-up article.

Near the end of December 2017, it came to light that the number of active hunting groups had risen to over 75.

As with any fringe movement, the status quo tends towards chaos and typical infighting. Coupled with the high proportion of Survivors who populate these groups, it is a wonder at times to see how calm and professional things are handled in the face of such amoral predatory behaviour. But then again, maybe Survivors get used to staring into the abyss so much that they are better equipped than the rest of us when dealing with the dregs of humanity. I wouldn’t know.

One interesting aspect of the work done by these groups in the previous years has been the varied responses from the U.K. Police. It seems there has not been an agreed-upon method of engaging with hunting groups as far as the police are concerned and depending upon the area of the country, groups have been met with very different attitudes.

Probably the most professional and direct responses have come from the London Metropolitan Police who have largely been polite, legally literate and responsive when it comes to attending a sting.

In stark contrast, the South and West Yorkshire Police forces have been less professional to the point of being, in one case in particular concerning a registered Paediatrician who was sending explicit content to someone he believed to be a 12-year-old girl and facilitating to meet, criminally negligent when they refused to affect an arrest, despite the imminent risk he posed regarding his ongoing practice and contact with children.

Maybe the boys up north could learn a thing or two from their cousins down south. Mind you, those Londoners still haven’t caught their Ripper so I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Naturally, one result of the surge in numbers of groups operating has been reflected in the number of cases being put before the courts. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the 45% figure quoted in 2016 had risen dramatically for 2017 to overshadow the number of effective operations being done by the authorities.

As a result of this imminent embarrassment and loss of control, new directives and laws are being drafted to limit the degree hunting groups are able to operate in. A particular point of contention has been the use of live online streaming most groups employ in order to create as much exposure of alleged predators as possible.

Up until this time a minority of these groups have adopted a less public method by only uploading stings once a conviction has been attained. This has limited the amount of potential damage done to family members of perpetrators and has also mitigated the risk factors of the sting itself.

Over the past week, and following some media exposure from the likes of Piers Morgan, many groups have been publicly stating that they will adopt this method going forward into the future and cease live streaming online.

Hopefully, we are entering a new phase in the hunting phenomenon from the previous several years of Wild West antics to a more formalised and cooperative working relationship between private citizens and local authorities.

After all, the idea of nurturing an effective relationship with the community has been the bedrock of British Policing since its legal formalisation in 1829 and the Peelian Principles it was founded upon.

 

Orinjamba


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