Keeping Leeds kids safe or vigilante justice? Predator Exposure's paedophile hunters

Hundreds of readers reacted on Wednesday as we revealed that a new BBC programme will examine the activities of controversial 'paedophile hunters' in Leeds and the north.

Thursday, 24th January 2019, 5:20 pm
Updated Thursday, 24th January 2019, 5:38 pm
Leeds based group Predator Exposure will feature in the BBC documentary

The BBC Three documentary Paedophile Hunters: The Rise of the Vigilantes will focus on the increasing number of groups tracking down and confronting online predators.

It will feature a Leeds-based group named Predator Exposure who describe themselves as a "new breed of hunter."

Supporters believe they are helping over-stretched police forces catch abusers but critics warn the vigilante groups could harm legitimate police investigations and risk breaking the law while "entrapping" and confronting suspects.

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Read our original report and comments here.

How you reacted to the debate

Mohammed Jhangir said: "Exposure and other similar groups should be rewarded for the work they do. The government and other relevant authorities should be supporting them for their hard work and dedication to protecting our young children from vile monsters."

John Wood said: "If they know something let them tell the police and let them deal with it, not vigilante thugs."

Shadrach Lynch said: "If the police did their job there would be no need for them."

Don Goldy said: "Doing a job the police fail to do. Keep it up paedo hunters"

James Willoughby said: "I think we should thank them for the time, effort and money they put in keeping our kids safe. I just hope they never get it wrong..."

Hayley Ann Batty said: "A very well respected team but by doing this with the BBC they've sadly just screwed themselves."

Stephen Duffin said: "Brilliant as long as they don't break the law of entrapment and holding someone and against their will."

Tony Barlow said: "Simple supply and demand here. If there weren't so many child abusers and groomers there wouldn't be so many groups would there? I've seen Phil from PE collar three of these vermin in one day within a square-mile radius. What does that tell you about how many paedophiles there are in society today?"

Rik Kerr said: "I don't believe live stings help anyone apart from the predator, live stings have many safeguarding issues attached to them and the only way this can work is if the police investigate as the chats are ongoing (monitored); the judges also take into account at sentencing that they've been shamed online and knock quite a bit off at the end result. I get why groups like this want to expose but they're doing more harm than good in my opinion, if anyone can sit down and watch a sting then potential other offenders attached to the predator can as well thus further endangering real children."

Sam Mu said: "Why don't they join the police? Instead of playing dress up. They could harm investigations as well as pointing the finger at the wrong people."

Thomas Anderson said: "If police are that bothered about them crossing lines, give them proper training and a wage; the only thing they're doing is a brilliant job of keeping our kids safe! Police just don't like the fact they are getting shown up because they're over-stretched and busy arresting Joe Bloggs because he's got £5 worth of weed on him!"

In April 2018, a group called Protecting the Innocent were forced to apologise on their Facebook page after targeting an innocent man in a sting on his doorstep in Leeds. They broadcast the confrontation live and later realised the victim was not the same man they had been pursuing.