An MP has urged Home Secretary Theresa May to investigate the upswing of crimes link to hook-up and dating apps like Grindr.
Police data released this month revealed that the number of alleged crimes reported involving the dating apps Tinder and Grindr has increased over sevenfold in two years.
The reports included allegations of rape, grooming, muggings, blackmail and attempted murder – with 412 reports of incidents up to October 2015.
It comes after concerns that London gangs are now taking advantage of Grindr to isolate vulnerable gay men, who were mugged after being lured to hook-ups.
Scottish National Party politician Stewart McDonald, the MP for Glasgow South, has today written to Home Secretary Theresa May – urging her to invest resources and identify a prevention strategy.
He warned: “These figures are incredibly concerning… campaigners have said many more could go unreported and have warned that users were vulnerable to blackmail or coercion.”
The MP continued: “Last August, a couple were jailed for blackmail after threatening to expose a married man they met on Grindr.
“Another user was jailed for five years last September for grooming a 14-year-old boy he met on the same app.
I am aware there has been over £90million invested in cyber security programmes and that there is a commitment to spend a further £1.5billion over next five years, which includes a fight against cybercrime.
“However, I have been unable to establish what assessment the Home Office has made of crimes related to dating apps and any strategy to combat these crimes. I would be grateful if you could provide clarification on this.
“Gay and bisexual men who are not open about their sexuality may be especially vulnerable to this type of crime due to the fact they are less likely to report these to police.
“It is therefore crucial that resources are invested in preventing these crimes before they can occur.”