PCC warns on the dangers of dating apps ahead of Valentine’s Day
Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, is encouraging the public to be wary of those they meet on dating apps on the lead up to Valentine’s Day. Dating apps have increased in popularity over the years with it estimated that over 50% of couples will have met online by 2031 and around 52% of online daters currently using mobile apps to find a partner.
With these numbers increasing, Peter McCall is warning individuals to be smart when it comes to meeting up with someone online: “We would never tell people to stop using dating apps but as technology grows and criminals are making their way online we need the public to be vigilant.
“We want anyone venturing on a first date with someone they met online to keep themselves safe and make sure they are not put in an uncomfortable or dangerous situation.
“If you do meet someone in person that you initially met online please meet in a public place that you are familiar with, let family or friends know where you are going and who you are meeting, show them a picture of your date and arrange for someone you know to pick you up at the end of the night.
“No one is obliged to finish a date – if you feel uncomfortable and your gut instinct is to get away, if safe to do so, make and excuse to leave or tell bar, restaurant, café employees that you need help to leave.
“I would hope that everyone leaves a date safely however if you are robbed, scammed, physically or sexually assaulted, raped – please contact the police on 101 or 999 in an emergency. Your report will be taken seriously and the police will do all they can to investigate.
“If you don’t wish to contact the police you can report any crime to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 – it’s 100% anonymous.“
The Bridgeway can also help – this is a service that helps with sexual violence. They can provide physical examinations and provide support to help those who have dealt with sexual violence learn to cope with their trauma and move forward with their lives. To contact The Bridgeway call 0808 118 6432.”
For more advice on how to stay safe when online dating visit the Get Safe Online website or the Crimestoppers website.