Figures reveal dangers of 'hook-up' apps such as Tinder and Grindr
The number of alleged crimes potentially involving people's use of dating apps Tinder and Grindr increased more than sevenfold in two years – including reports of rape, grooming and attempted murder.
Experts in the UK said the findings were "shocking" and urged the authorities to launch a campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of meeting strangers on so-called hook-up sites.
In September 2014, gardaí said officers in Dublin had arrested a man on suspicion of raping a woman he met through Tinder.
Just 55 reports of crimes in England and Wales mentioned Grindr or Tinder in 2013, according to figures released to the Press Association under the Freedom of Information Act.
This jumped to 204 in 2014 and 412 in the year to October 2015, according to the 30 police forces who gave figures.
There were 277 crime reports in which Tinder was mentioned in 2015 - up from 21 in 2013. And 135 alleged crimes in which Grindr was mentioned were recorded in 2015, up from 34 reported in 2013.
Tinder is used predominately by heterosexual daters while Grindr is a gay dating app.
Reports of violent and sexual crimes were the most common, with 253 allegations of violence against the person and 152 reports of sex offences, including grooming, rapes and the sexual exploitation of children.
The figures come from police reports where the apps are mentioned in the crime report and does not automatically mean the app was used directly by the criminal.
But there have been documented cases in which they were.
The figures come from police reports where Tinder and Grindr has been used in the description of an allegation. This can refer to cases where they were allegedly used to commit a crime, where the victim and suspect met on the app, or where the app was mentioned but was not directly related to the crime - for example when a victim happened to be on Tinder when the crime was committed.
The UK forces which provided figures did not give a breakdown of the different situations.
Grindr and Tinder did not reply to requests for a comment.
- Press Association