In Brief

Crimes linked to Tinder and Grindr jump sevenfold in two years

More than 400 reports made last year, including allegations of violence and sex offences

Police are investigating an increasing number of crimes including allegations of rape and blackmail linked to the dating apps Tinder and Grindr.

Crimes connected to the two apps have increased sevenfold in two years, from 55 in 2013 to 412 in the year to October 2015, according to figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. Reports last year included 253 allegations of violence and 152 claims of sex offences such as grooming, rape and the sexual exploitation of children, reports the Daily Telegraph.

However, points out the newspaper, the figures include police reports where the apps are mentioned in the description of the crime, not necessarily when they might have been used directly by the criminal.

Andy Cooke, deputy chief constable of Merseyside Police and the national police lead on violence and public protection, said the "rising popularity of online dating apps and websites has contributed to an increase in the number of recorded crimes" and urged users to be "as security conscious as possible".

Campaigners have also warned of the risk of "sextortion" - for example, last August, two men were jailed after threatening to expose a married man they met on Grindr.

"If we are going to base the formation of a relationship on a photo and a few lines of text, how do we know that person is who they say they are and they have the right intentions?" says Andy Phippen, professor of social responsibility in IT at Plymouth University.

"It is something we tell kids about – don't trust who people say they are online – but the adult population go merrily about their way thinking it is a good way of hooking up."

In a statement, Tinder told BBC's Newsbeat: "People with bad intentions exist in coffee shops, bookstores, on social media and social apps.

"Tinder has become one of the largest social platforms in the world, responsible for ten billion connections in just the last few years, and therefore we are not immune to this, despite the fact that it represents a miniscule percentage of our experiences."

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