POLICE across the borough have encouraged singletons to use dating apps safely and to think twice before meeting in public.

Officers have released advice to potential daters who are meeting strangers during lockdown.

A spokesperson for South Yorkshire Police said: “Whether you’re a dating app novice, or a swiping pro, it’s important to do what you can to keep yourself safe from predators who may look to take advantage.

“Check their profile is verified, or has linked social media accounts. This is a good way to check they are who they say they are.

“Don’t cut the small talk. Get to know someone before you meet them. If something feels off, un-match or block.

“Why not consider a virtual date first?

“Tell a friend. If you do decide to meet, make sure you tell a friend where you are going and when, and agree an exit strategy should you need one.

“Meet someone in the daytime or in a well-lit place, with other people around.

“If something doesn’t feel right, trust your instincts. End the date.

“In an ideal world, everyone would be able to date safely and without the fear of harm. But sometimes, dream dates can turn into nightmares.

“Whilst sexual offences stemming from dating app use are rare, they still do happen, and they can happen to anyone.”