John Leech, the former MP for Manchester Withington, has declared war on Tinder and Grindr, accusing the companies of a “serious and shocking lapse in care.”
The prominent Liberal Democrat has launched a campaign publicly calling on the dating apps Tinder and Grindr to display safety notices and dramatically increase the safety of users after a spike in related sexual assaults. Mr Leech wrote to the two leading applications after discovering that neither provided any notice of safety before allowing users to speak with complete strangers.
His demands come after he uncovered that 58 incidents across Greater Manchester, including rape and serious violence, were linked to the two apps.
John Leech, who will now lead a campaign to get dating apps to display safety notices, stressed his concerns saying:
“It is completely unacceptable that neither of the two leading dating apps display safety alerts or notices at any point from download to real life use, not even anything as simple as meeting somewhere public and letting a friend know where you’re going.
“Something as serious as rape has an enormous and life-shattering impact on so many lives, from the victim to their friends, family and co-workers. One is too many, but 17 in Greater Manchester is just unacceptable and these dating apps need to start taking preventative steps immediately.
“Tinder and Grindr should not be let off the hook over such a serious and shocking lapse in care to their users.
“They must introduce safety alerts immediately and dramatically increase the safety of users, and they must do it now.”
John Leech’s heavy words come as a Freedom of Information enquiry made by the former MP revealed that more than 58 crimes across Greater Manchester have been linked to the use of dating apps Tinder and Grindr, including rape and serious violence.
Of the 28 incidents related to Grindr, four resulted in rape, with a further ten other sexual offences. Theft, non-sexual violence and drug trafficking were also reported.
A much higher number of 13 out of the 30 reported Tinder incidents resulted in rape, with other violent offences making up a further 15.
John Leech, who now stands as the sole opposition on Manchester Council, added,
“I am extremely concerned to see that Manchester has one of the highest numbers of incidents, and in what I would desperately like to be seen as a safe and welcoming city, these numbers are distressingly high and must be tackled immediately.
“I fear that these worrying incidents are just the beginning of a much wider issue surrounding a serious lack of sexual and relationship education that must also be confronted.
“In an evolving and increasingly digital age where many people have found their perfect match through these dating apps, the real dangers of online dating must also be highlighted to ensure that these horrific and life-shattering crimes are avoided.”
Across the country, officers reported at least 162 sexual offences, including 63 rapes, linked to the two apps, which are used by more than 60 million people.
Tinder launched as a smartphone app in 2012 and Grindr, used largely by gay and bisexual men, in 2009.
Jane Brophy, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of Greater Manchester, said,
“These numbers are a serious cause for concern, and as more and more people use these apps we must get better at tackling the safety of users.”
Committing to tackling the concerning rise, Jane Brophy added,
“Seeing an increase in sexual, health and relationship education, and a decrease in these assaults will be part of my plan to step forward for Greater Manchester.”