Police issue dating safety advice ahead of Valentine's Day

Stock image. Credit: PA.
Stock image. Credit: PA.

Police have issued dating safety advice ahead of Valentine's Day next week.

Cleveland Police and Clare's Law are urging those logging on to dating apps and websites, to take extra care when meeting up with strangers.

Those looking for love are told not to disclose private information on online dating sites and to keep initial contact on the dating site platform.

Officers advise people not to move to other social media sites until they are happy that the person they are talking to appears genuine.

People should ask as many questions as possible about the person and not rush into a relationship or feel pressured to meet before they are ready.

They also should never send money to anyone, no matter what their story, or share any personal images.

People are also advised to talk to friends and family about online relationships, and always tell someone where and when, if they decide to meet.

Meetings should always take place in a public place, and people should not be afraid to get up and leave if things aren’t going well.

Those who are consuming alcohol are asked to limit the amount, and only take a drink that they've seen being poured. Never leave a drink unattended, and, ideally, have own transport.

The force's Crime Prevention & Architectural Liaison Officer Gerry McBride said: "Valentine’s Day is almost upon us, and millions of people will be purchasing gifts for those that they love, and many more will be looking for love online via the myriad of dating websites.

"It shouldn’t come as a complete surprise to you, but people online aren’t always who they say they are, so trust your instincts. If something doesn’t seem right, then it probably isn’t."

Clare’s Law was launched in 2011 following the murder of Clare Wood, by her partner, whom she met online, who had a history of violence towards women.

Under this scheme, police can disclose convictions/non-convictions from domestic abuse related incidents and other verifiable information to which the police have access.

This is a completely confidential service and your partner will never find out that you have asked. By requesting a disclosure you are giving yourself the best opportunity to make the right choice about your future relationship.

You can make a Clare’s Law disclosure request in person at a police station, by calling 101 or by speaking to a police officer in person.