It follows criticism of many of the activist groups, accused of being little more than lawless vigilantes, responsible for sometimes violent confrontations with suspected sex offenders.
In recent months, several people who were confronted by paedophile hunting groups have gone on to take their own lives.
Senior police officers say they have serious concerns about the activities of a number of the groups, particularly when it comes to filming confrontations with suspected paedophiles and posting them online.
Sky News was given exclusive access to follow several teams from the Midlands and the north of England, who banded together to track down and confront a suspected sex offender in Birmingham.
Volunteers from four of the groups acted as decoys, posing as underage girls on internet chatrooms, to gather evidence on the man.
The teams logged hundreds of pages of transcripts of the man’s online conversations, where it is claimed he made suggestions of a sexual nature and sent explicit photos and videos to the decoys.
Looking through some of the chat logs, “Kong” from the Nottingham-based group Justice4Kids said: “His interaction is the same throughout. He’s establishing a pattern of grooming, with a look to going to a conversation of a sexual nature with the child and asking them to delete that conversation after.
“That shows that he is being cautious and is fully aware that doing that is wrong.”
Jo Stubbs, from the Nottingham-based Parental Online Protection group, also helped collate the evidence from hundreds of hours of chats.
She said: “It is very obvious that he is actively seeking sexual contact with a child, very knowingly speaking to a 13-year-old and saying ‘you could even touch me on top of my jeans while sitting side-by-side at the cinema.”
That evidence has now been handed over to West Midlands Police, but not before the groups confronted the man and posted videos of that confrontation online.
The hunters chose a Friday night to launch their operation to confront the suspect, heading to Birmingham city centre in four cars.
They claim the man suggested the meeting, believing he was talking to a 13-year-old girl.
The four teams Sky News followed claimed to be more responsible than some other groups, taking into account any health or safety concerns surrounding the person they are about to confront.
But their interaction with the suspect in Birmingham was still pretty forthright.
“Monkey” from the group 25/8 questioned the man outside the pub telling him they were making a citizens’ arrest because of his “online activities”.
When the man apologised, he was told “No, no, no, we’ve listened to your conversations, we’ve seen your chats. Do you know what damage it can cause a child?
“You can damage these children for the rest of their lives. Don’t start with the crocodile now, we’re not interested.”
An hour later, police turned up to the scene of the confrontation and led the man away for questioning.
The activities of paedophile hunting groups pose a real dilemma for the authorities.
Their evidence has helped convict many, but some groups seem more concerned with the shock and awe of confronting suspected offenders, than gathering evidence for a successful prosecution.
And a growing number of confrontations are ending in tragedy.
Nigel Sherratt from Staffordshire was confronted by a group of vigilante activists in August, accused of arranging to meet someone he thought was a 14-year-old girl.
The video of the confrontation and the allegations made against him were posted online.
Within days of that confrontation, the 47-year-old committed suicide.
Assistant Chief Constable Dan Vajzovic is responsible for helping set national police policy around paedophile hunting groups.
He believes, on balance, the negatives associated with the activities of these groups, outweigh the positives.
“There are occasions when activist groups have carried out investigations and handed over evidence to the police and that has resulted in dangerous paedophiles being locked up,” he said. “However, our overall impression is that activist groups are not helpful to the policing operation for a range of reasons.
“Some of the activities we’ve seen them carry out have resulted in people with mental health issues and others with learning difficulties being targeted. People are sometimes not actually paedophiles.”
Sky News spoke to one young man, trapped by a paedophile hunting group and prosecuted for arranging to meet an underage boy.
He is extremely bitter about the way he was treated and the humiliation he endured after his details were published online.
“I felt really terrible about admitting to an offence that a feel I hadn’t actually committed. I wasn’t actually talking to a 15-year-old.
“I was given a suspended sentence. Being on the sex offenders register for the next 10 years is just shocking. It’s probably the worst punishment I received, other than my details being made public online.”
“Bradley” a paedophile hunter from the West Midlands has notched up around a dozen successful prosecutions.
But his approach is different to the majority of hunter groups. He does not engage in confronting suspected offenders.
Instead, passes on the evidence he gathers, directly to the police.
However, it is unlikely most groups will abandon the practice of on camera confrontations, believing it provides a deterrent factor.
And however uncomfortable the police may be by the actions of these groups, they do regularly use the evidence collected by them.
The Birmingham suspect now faces the likelihood of prosecution, secured by the actions of paedophile hunters.
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