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Paedophile hunters and online grooming

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Dear Gloucestershire Constabulary,

1a. Please provide the number of arrests you made in 2019/20 regarding online sexual offences of any kind related to children.

1b. Please provide a breakdown of all the sexual offences associated with these arrests:

e.g. section 8 of SOA 2003 [insert number]; section 10 of SOA 2003 [insert number]; section 12 of SOA 2003 [insert number] section 14 of SOA 2003 [insert number]; and section 15 of SOA [insert number]; section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 [insert number].

1c. Please specify the number of these arrests that involved at least one child decoy. By 'child decoy' I am referring to an adult who pretends to be a child.

2. Please provide the number of arrests you made in 2019/20 in connection with online sexual offences against children based on evidence acquired by your own officers acting as decoys.

3. Please provide the number of arrests you made in 2019/20 in connection with online sexual offences against children based on evidence provided to you by so-called paedophile hunters.

4. Please provide the names of all so-called paedophile hunting groups who provided information to you that led to the arrest of individuals in connection with sexual offences against children in 2019/20.

Yours faithfully,

D Moore

FOI, Gloucestershire Constabulary

Thank you for contacting Gloucestershire Constabulary’s Freedom of
Information Team.

If you have submitted a request for information, please accept this as
your acknowledgment. We may be in contact to discuss your request.

We aim to respond to your request within the statutory time frame of 20
working days. However, owing to the unprecedented demand being placed on
the Constabulary at this time due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it may not be
possible to respond within 20 working days. If this happens, we will keep
you informed.

If you have sent a query to the team concerning an outstanding request for
information, we will be in contact with you as soon as we can.

 

Thank you

 

 

 

******This is an automated response. Please do not reply directly to this
e-mail. Send any further information or requests to
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D. Moore left an annotation ()

Joe Purshouse (School of Law, University of East Anglia) has written a paper that seriously questions the activities of so-called paedophile hunters. It is titled: "'Paedophile Hunters’, Criminal Procedure, and Fundamental Human Rights".

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full...

"The muted response of the police, Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), and domestic courts to paedophile hunters is failing to deter their criminality. The article ends with suggestions for reappraisal of existing legal doctrines, law reform, and more rigorous enforcement to control and, in some cases, deter paedophile hunting."

J Roberts left an annotation ()

I see the article by Joe Purshouse was first published on 17th June 2020, a month before the Supreme Court handed down judgment in the case of someone caught by 'paedophile hunters' :

[2020] UKSC 32

http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKSC/2020...

See comment dated 15 July 2020:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/p...

Story from the Independent:

"‘Paedophile hunters’ do not violate right to privacy, Supreme Court rules as convict's appeal dismissed"

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/cr...

Gloucestershire man spoken to last night about a 13 year-old girl decoy (Our Team). He allegedly asked for pictures of her breasts 40 or 50 times:

https://www.bitchute.com/video/MuJSK0DMy...

Net Justice, Guardian Angels and Hidden Web involved in catching this one:

https://www.bitchute.com/video/nrH7qnlx9...

A youth centre worker who avoided jail and who admitted to:

"communicating sexually with girls he thought were 12, 13 and 14 between January and April of this year."

http://www.gloucesterreview.co.uk/articl...

More videos can be found here:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1...

D. Moore left an annotation ()

"'Paedophile hunter' evidence used to charge 150 suspects" (2017)

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-43...

"Strategic review of Police Scotland’s response to online child sexual abuse" (February 2020)

“Almost half of the online grooming cases emanate from the activities of online child abuse activist groups (vigilante groups), who are unregulated and untrained. A more robust proactive capability on the part of Police Scotland would reduce the opportunities for these groups to operate.” (page 5)

https://www.hmics.scot/sites/default/fil...

BBC Radio 4 programme The Untold goes on a "sting" with Leeds-based hunting group Predator Exposure:

"Six of the group went on trial accused of charges including false imprisonment and common assault. They were all found not guilty and emerged from Leeds Crown Court vowing to step up the work that they do."

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000hv9p

See the group in action:

https://youtu.be/_gfRmagvltk

Useful information provided by South Yorkshire Police from the Force Disclosure Log:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/p...

FOI, Gloucestershire Constabulary

Dear D Moore

 

Enquiry Ref : 2021.0011

 

Thank you for your enquiry dated 04/01/2021 requesting information
concerning the following:

1a. Please provide the number of arrests you made in 2019/20 regarding
online sexual offences of any kind related to children.

 

1b. Please provide a breakdown of all the sexual offences associated with
these arrests:

 

e.g. section 8 of SOA 2003 [insert number]; section 10 of SOA 2003 [insert
number]; section 12 of SOA 2003 [insert number] section 14 of SOA 2003
[insert number]; and section 15 of SOA [insert number]; section 127 of the
Communications Act 2003 [insert number].

 

1c. Please specify the number of these arrests that involved at least one
child decoy. By 'child decoy' I am referring to an adult who pretends to
be a child.

 

2. Please provide the number of arrests you made in 2019/20 in connection
with online sexual offences against children based on evidence acquired by
your own officers acting as decoys.

 

3. Please provide the number of arrests you made in 2019/20 in connection
with online sexual offences against children based on evidence provided to
you by so-called paedophile hunters.

 

4. Please provide the names of all so-called paedophile hunting groups who
provided information to you that led to the arrest of individuals in
connection with sexual offences against children in 2019/20.

To help us identify the information you require I would be grateful if you
would clarify the following information:

 

Unfortunately, to retrieve arrest data for online sexual offences against
children would require a manual review of all arrests for sexual offences
against children as there is no online flag for arrests.  The time
required to manually review these records would exceed that outlined by
Section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

 

However, Gloucestershire Constabulary’s Crime Recording System has a cyber
tag that can be applied to records and therefore an electronic search of
crimes is possible.  Please note that Gloucestershire Constabulary’s
Arrest Recording System and Crime Recording System cannot be
cross-referenced to find arrests against crime records.  Also, depending
on the number of results from a search of crime data, it may be the case
that Part 3 of your request would also invoke Section 12 of the Freedom of
Information Act as this would require a manual review.

 

Please contact me to let me know if crime data for all parts of your
request, rather than arrest data, would be useful to you.

 

If you are unable to give me this information, please indicate how I may
otherwise assist you. Unfortunately I am unable to respond to your request
until I have received this information. Please note that if we do not
receive a response within 20 working days, your request will be closed.
Please also note that 20 working day statutory time period is on hold
until you respond.

 

If you would like to discuss this matter please do not hesitate to contact
us.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Mrs R Bellak

Disclosure Officer

Information Disclosure/Governance & Compliance

Gloucestershire Constabulary

 

1 Waterwells Drive | Quedgeley | Gloucestershire | GL2 2AN

Tel – 01452 754304 | Force Control Room - 101

[1]www.gloucestershire.police.uk | [2]Twitter page | [3]Facebook page

 

Currently working from home

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References

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1. http://www.gloucestershire.police.uk/
2. https://twitter.com/Glos_Police
3. https://www.facebook.com/gloucestershire...

Dear FOI,

Ref : 2021.0011

I refer to your email of 11/1/21.

I wish to reframe my request:

1. Number of crime reports for grooming offences recorded with an online
marker attached, for 2019/2020.

2. Of which, the number resulting in a charge.

3. Of those resulting in a charge, the number involving a child decoy.

4. Of those resulting in a charge, the number involving a police decoy.

5. Of those resulting in a charge, the number involving a paedophile
hunter group.

6. The paedophile hunter groups involved.

Yours sincerely,

D. Moore

FOI, Gloucestershire Constabulary

Thank you for contacting Gloucestershire Constabulary’s Freedom of
Information Team.

If you have submitted a request for information, please accept this as
your acknowledgment. We may be in contact to discuss your request.

We aim to respond to your request within the statutory time frame of 20
working days. However, owing to the unprecedented demand being placed on
the Constabulary at this time due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it may not be
possible to respond within 20 working days. If this happens, we will keep
you informed.

If you have sent a query to the team concerning an outstanding request for
information, we will be in contact with you as soon as we can.

 

Thank you

 

 

 

******This is an automated response. Please do not reply directly to this
e-mail. Send any further information or requests to
[email address]

show quoted sections

J Roberts left an annotation ()

Radio 4's File on 4 dealt with the issue of female sex offenders in "Women Who Abuse":

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000rcq5

The programme highlighted the case of a female groomer who was jailed in 2018. Details of her crime are available on the UK Database:

https://uk-database.net/2018/03/22/debor...

Thirty-six police forces responded to FOI requests (5th minute). The responses revealed that between 2015-19:

- there were over 10,400 reports of women sexually abusing children

- Over 5,400 reports concerned children aged 11-17

- around 3,800 reports involved children under 11

(some forces didn't provide information on ages)

A FOI request was also sent to the Disclosure and Barring Service. I have requested a copy of the response received:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/f...

"There is evidence more female abusers are being flagged when applying for jobs with children or vulnerable adults than are being reported to the police."

The programme also referred to research by Dr Andrea Darling, who wrote this article on female teachers who abuse pupils:

https://theconversation.com/understandin...

J Roberts left an annotation ()

CPS legal guidance regarding paedophile hunters (July 2020). Paedophile hunting groups are referred to formally as online child abuse activist groups (OCAGs):

'The term OCAGs in this context refers to individuals or groups of individuals who are members of the public using on-line activity to uncover or "catch" alleged paedophiles involved in on-line child sexual abuse or interested in meeting children for the purpose of such abuse. A wide range activity may fall under this umbrella term...'

https://www.cps.gov.uk/legal-guidance/on...

'Police are encouraged to seek early investigative advice (EIA) in all OCAG cases using the EIA process available in each CPS area. This will assist officers to address any complex evidential issues, to focus their investigation and to bring to an early conclusion cases which are unlikely to meet the required evidential standard.'

Recently published Home Office report titled 'Tackling Child Sexual Abuse Strategy'.

'This ground-breaking Strategy sets out the Government’s ambition to prevent, tackle and respond to all forms of child sexual abuse.

5. Our goal is to ensure there are no safe spaces online for offenders to abuse and exploit children. Across the NCA, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), National Cyber Force (NCF) and wider law enforcement, the Home Office will invest in the development of new technological capabilities to bring more technically sophisticated offenders to justice and help our partners identify and safeguard more victims and survivors. This includes enhancing the use of the UK’s world-leading Child Abuse Image Database (CAID).'

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk...

FOI, Gloucestershire Constabulary

1 Attachment

Dear D Moore

 

Please find attached our response to your Freedom of Information request.

 

Kind regards

 

Mrs R Bellak

Disclosure Officer

Information Disclosure / Governance & Compliance

Gloucestershire Constabulary

1 Waterwells Drive | Quedgeley | Gloucester | GL2 2AN

Telephone 01452 754304 | Force Control Room – 101

[1]www.gloucestershire.police.uk | [2]Twitter page | [3]Facebook page

 

Currently working from home

show quoted sections

References

Visible links
1. http://www.gloucestershire.police.uk/
2. https://twitter.com/Glos_Police
3. https://www.facebook.com/gloucestershire...

We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are D. Moore please sign in and let everyone know.