‘EastEnders’ bosses have defended the show’s ongoing paedophile hunter plot, insisting that they have not “glamourised” the topic.
Viewers have seen Halfway (Tony Clay) and Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) assisting Stuart Highway (Ricky Champ) with his plan to entrap predators, by posing as young girls on the internet.
They’ve then been setting up meetings with the suspects and confronting them, before posting footage of the exchanges online.
Following the episodes, the National Police Chiefs’ Council warned viewers not to follow the characters’ leads, in a statement issued to the Sun.
Instead, they ask the public to “get in contact with the police so we can investigate and bring people to justice” if they suspect someone.
“Online child abuse activists are taking risks they don’t understand and can undermine police investigations,” they said. “Most importantly, unlike our officers, they have no way of safeguarding child victims.”
In response to the comments, an ‘EastEnders’ spokesperson has issued a statement of their own. It reads: “At no point is ‘EastEnders’ encouraging or glamourising predator hunting.
“In fact, viewers will see the extremely negative consequences of Stuart’s actions this week.”
The after-effect of Stuart’s actions have already been hinted at, as earlier this week he confronted an innocent man and posted his details online, despite Mick’s protestations.
‘EastEnders’ has tackled a number of serious topics in recent months and next week, it will break from its usual format for a special episode that focuses on knife crime.
Earlier this month, character Shakil Kazemi died after being stabbed and his funeral episode will see real-life families who have been affected by knife crime telling their stories, alongside the fictional ones.