Police concerns over Pokemon Go craze

19 July 2016

Pokemon Go players and the public are being urged to use common sense to avoid wasting police time and be conscious of internet safety as the smartphone game craze sweeps the nation.

The game was launched in the UK last week and already a 999 call has been made in Gloucestershire by a player reporting that another user had “stolen” a Pokemon, while in Nottinghamshire a group of players were reported for “suspicious” activity.

Hoax and frivolous 999 calls are an ongoing issue for police forces, and Simon Kempton, the Police Federation of England and Wales lead for cyber crime, outlines his concerns:

“The spurious phone call is just one of thousands fielded by the police and other emergency services every year. All of these calls take time to respond to and take our members and other police resources away from those who actually need them.”

Further concerns have also been raised in relation to the App, including reports of users driving whilst playing. However, one of the largest areas of concern is younger players revealing their location online.

Mr Kempton added: “It’s vital that parents are teaching themselves how to be safe on the internet so that they can in turn ensure their children are safe.

“I’d also like to see internet safety further integrated into the national curriculum with IT lessons at Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 so that all children are taught up to date safety around the use of computers.

“Whilst this is already part of the curriculum but doesn’t necessarily focus on the types of sites and apps that children are using.”

“To help keep themselves safe people should consider playing it in groups rather than individually meaning they can look after each other, particularly from the potential threat of strangers."

Further tips and advice for keeping children safe on Pokémon Go can be found on the NSPCC website