Police in Dundee have warned the public against taking vigilante action after a man was confronted by “paedophile hunters.”
The 36-year-old was arrested at the weekend in the city over alleged grooming offences, following the group’s action.
Insp Nicky McGovern of Police Scotland was speaking after an internet network known as Creep Catchers UK confronted and filmed the man outside his home on Saturday.
Insp McGovern said: “We take these reports very seriously and are currently making inquiries into what was reported to us.
“I would urge the local community to allow us to make the necessary inquiries and not take matters into their own hands. I would like to reassure the public that all reasonable steps are being taken to protect them.”
Members of the Creep Catchers, who posted a video online of themselves confronting the man, say they are concerned parents who are taking action because they believe financially-stretched police force across the UK are “struggling” to cope with child sex offenders.
Councillor Kevin Keenan, Labour group leader, Dundee City Council, said anyone with suspicions should contact the police. I’m appalled that such a vigilante squad exists. How many times have such groups picked on the wrong person which is very damaging to them and their family?
“If people have any information on alleged crimes they should go to the police and let them carry out an intelligence-based operation.”
Cllr Keenan added: “Police resources are certainly stretched and an issue in some areas, they’re with dealing with the terrorism threat and some police are doing civilians’ jobs. However, that is no excuse for vigilante action. Complaints should be raised with councillors and MSPs who can scrutinise the police boards.
Ross Ottaway, from Dundee, appeared in private on petition at Dundee Sheriff Court yesterday facing two charges under the Protection of Children and Prevention of Sexual Offences (Scotland ) Act and the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act of sending an indecent communication and of having communicated with a child with the intention of making arrangements to meet them.
Ottaway, who was released on bail, made no plea or declaration and the case was continued for further examination.