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.

Paedophile hunters and online grooming

D. Moore made this Freedom of Information request to Kent Police

Automatic anti-spam measures are in place for this older request. Please let us know if a further response is expected or if you are having trouble responding.

We're waiting for D. Moore to read recent responses and update the status.

Dear Kent Police,

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

Freedom of Information Kent, Kent Police

The Public Disclosure Team acknowledge receipt of your email.

 

Please be aware that due to Government issued advice the Public Disclosure
Team will be working remotely for the foreseeable future. We therefore ask
that you only contact us via this email address and avoid telephoning our
team to chase existing requests or make a new request for Disclosure of
Information or a Subject Access Request.

We will endeavour to get back to you as soon as we can and thank you for
your patience at this time.

 

This email and any other accompanying document(s) contain information from
Kent Police and/or Essex Police, which is confidential or privileged. The
information is intended to be for the exclusive use of the individual(s)
or bodies to whom it is addressed. The content, including any subsequent
replies, could be disclosable if relating to a criminal investigation or
civil proceedings. If you are not the intended recipient, be aware that
any disclosure, copying, distribution or other use of the contents of this
information is prohibited. If you have received this email in error,
please notify us immediately by contacting the sender or telephoning Kent
Police on 01622 690690 or Essex Police on 01245 491491, as appropriate.
For further information regarding Kent Police’s or Essex Police’s use of
personal data please go to https://www.kent.police.uk/hyg/privacy/ or
https://www.essex.police.uk/hyg/privacy/. Additionally for our Terms and
Conditions please go to https://www.kent.police.uk/hyg/terms-con...
or https://www.essex.police.uk/hyg/terms-co...

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...

Kent man spoken to (Team Impact):

https://www.bitchute.com/video/y23SwXboi...

Dover man spoken to (COBRA UK):

https://www.bitchute.com/video/amTh4CSup...

Two Kent men spoken to (Banish Predators Online):

https://www.bitchute.com/video/93etDEA8E...
https://www.bitchute.com/video/2anSJcO0Y...

Ashford man questioned (Team Impact):

https://www.bitchute.com/video/91BuX2HJb...

More videos can be found here:

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

Freedom of Information Kent, Kent Police

1 Attachment

Dear D Moore,

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST 21/01/0006

 

Thank you for your request received by Kent Police on 2^nd January 2021. I
note you seek access, in summary, to information relating to:

 

Statistics for sexual offences against children

 

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) provides that a public
authority respond to an FOI request within 20 working days. Although every
effort will be made to ensure a response is provided within statutory
deadlines, due to current circumstances delays may be unavoidable. We
apologise for any inconvenience and will endeavour to process your request
as quickly as is practicable. It is likely that a response may well be
delayed, particularly where crime data is sought.

 

Your interest in Kent Police is appreciated and pending a specific
response to your request, I enclose a sheet, which summarises your rights.
Should you have any further inquiries concerning this matter, please write
or contact us via the following telephone number 01622 652610 quoting the
reference number above.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Lakeisha Dowsey-Magog

Freedom of Information Assistant

 

[1][email address]

Kent Police Public Disclosure Team

Coldharbour, London Road,

Aylesford, Kent, ME20 7SL

This email and any other accompanying document(s) contain information from
Kent Police and/or Essex Police, which is confidential or privileged. The
information is intended to be for the exclusive use of the individual(s)
or bodies to whom it is addressed. The content, including any subsequent
replies, could be disclosable if relating to a criminal investigation or
civil proceedings. If you are not the intended recipient, be aware that
any disclosure, copying, distribution or other use of the contents of this
information is prohibited. If you have received this email in error,
please notify us immediately by contacting the sender or telephoning Kent
Police on 01622 690690 or Essex Police on 01245 491491, as appropriate.
For further information regarding Kent Police’s or Essex Police’s use of
personal data please go to https://www.kent.police.uk/hyg/privacy/ or
https://www.essex.police.uk/hyg/privacy/. Additionally for our Terms and
Conditions please go to https://www.kent.police.uk/hyg/terms-con...
or https://www.essex.police.uk/hyg/terms-co...

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]

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...

Freedom of Information Kent, Kent Police

1 Attachment

Dear D Moore,         

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST REF 21/01/0006

Thank you for your request received by Kent Police on 2^nd January 2021.

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.

Unfortunately your request engages the cost exemption at Section 12 FOIA.
Section 12 provides an exemption from a public authority’s obligation to
comply with a request for information where the cost of compliance is
estimated to exceed the appropriate limit. The Freedom of Information and
Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004 state that
the appropriate cost limit is 18 hours in the case of the Police Service.

The reason for engaging the exemption is that it is not possible to
extract the information relevant to your request by automated means. 
Crime (offence) data and custody (arrest) data are stored on separate
parts of the electronic recording system, and cannot be linked
automatically. To determine if an offence were to involve an arrest would
require the manual review of the free-text enquiry log of each crime
report cross referenced with any related custody records, which will
involve many hundreds of records and is estimated to take the request
beyond the 18 working hour limit. 

When Section 12 is engaged, our duty under Section 16 requires that we
assist you in refining your request so as to bring it within the cost
limit. In this instance we would suggest the following refinement.

We would suggest limiting the offences to those of grooming of a child;

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.

If you would like to proceed with the refined request please advise us and
we will log and process the new request as soon as possible. You will be
contacted with a new reference number if this is the case.

Should you have any further inquiries concerning this matter, please do
not hesitate to contact us. If you are dissatisfied with the way your
request has been handled please refer to the ‘your rights summary’
attached for details of the next step you are able to take.

Yours sincerely,

 

Public Disclosure Officer

Information Security and Governance

Kent Police

 

This email and any other accompanying document(s) contain information from
Kent Police and/or Essex Police, which is confidential or privileged. The
information is intended to be for the exclusive use of the individual(s)
or bodies to whom it is addressed. The content, including any subsequent
replies, could be disclosable if relating to a criminal investigation or
civil proceedings. If you are not the intended recipient, be aware that
any disclosure, copying, distribution or other use of the contents of this
information is prohibited. If you have received this email in error,
please notify us immediately by contacting the sender or telephoning Kent
Police on 01622 690690 or Essex Police on 01245 491491, as appropriate.
For further information regarding Kent Police’s or Essex Police’s use of
personal data please go to https://www.kent.police.uk/hyg/privacy/ or
https://www.essex.police.uk/hyg/privacy/. Additionally for our Terms and
Conditions please go to https://www.kent.police.uk/hyg/terms-con...
or https://www.essex.police.uk/hyg/terms-co...

Dear Freedom of Information Kent,

REF 21/01/0006

Thank you for your considered response and valuable advice.

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

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...

Freedom of Information Kent, Kent Police

1 Attachment

Dear D Moore,

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST 21/01/0094

 

Thank you for your request received by Kent Police on 19^th January 2021.
I note you seek access, in summary, to information relating to:

 

Statistics for sexual offences against children

 

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) provides that a public
authority respond to an FOI request within 20 working days. Although every
effort will be made to ensure a response is provided within statutory
deadlines, due to current circumstances delays may be unavoidable. We
apologise for any inconvenience and will endeavour to process your request
as quickly as is practicable. It is likely that a response may well be
delayed, particularly where crime data is sought.

 

Your interest in Kent Police is appreciated and pending a specific
response to your request, I enclose a sheet, which summarises your rights.
Should you have any further inquiries concerning this matter, please write
or contact us via the following telephone number 01622 652610 quoting the
reference number above.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Lakeisha Dowsey-Magog (she/her)

Freedom of Information Assistant

 

[1][email address]

Kent Police Public Disclosure Team

Coldharbour, London Road,

Aylesford, Kent, ME20 7SL

This email and any other accompanying document(s) contain information from
Kent Police and/or Essex Police, which is confidential or privileged. The
information is intended to be for the exclusive use of the individual(s)
or bodies to whom it is addressed. The content, including any subsequent
replies, could be disclosable if relating to a criminal investigation or
civil proceedings. If you are not the intended recipient, be aware that
any disclosure, copying, distribution or other use of the contents of this
information is prohibited. If you have received this email in error,
please notify us immediately by contacting the sender or telephoning Kent
Police on 01622 690690 or Essex Police on 01245 491491, as appropriate.
For further information regarding Kent Police’s or Essex Police’s use of
personal data please go to https://www.kent.police.uk/hyg/privacy/ or
https://www.essex.police.uk/hyg/privacy/. Additionally for our Terms and
Conditions please go to https://www.kent.police.uk/hyg/terms-con...
or https://www.essex.police.uk/hyg/terms-co...

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]

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...

Freedom of Information Kent, Kent Police

1 Attachment

Dear D Moore,

 

With reference to the Freedom of Information request that we received from
you on 19 January 2021 please find attached the response letter.

 

Should you have any queries relating to this then please do not hesitate
to contact us.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Freedom of Information

Information Security and Governance

Kent Police

 

This email and any other accompanying document(s) contain information from
Kent Police and/or Essex Police, which is confidential or privileged. The
information is intended to be for the exclusive use of the individual(s)
or bodies to whom it is addressed. The content, including any subsequent
replies, could be disclosable if relating to a criminal investigation or
civil proceedings. If you are not the intended recipient, be aware that
any disclosure, copying, distribution or other use of the contents of this
information is prohibited. If you have received this email in error,
please notify us immediately by contacting the sender or telephoning Kent
Police on 01622 690690 or Essex Police on 01245 491491, as appropriate.
For further information regarding Kent Police’s or Essex Police’s use of
personal data please go to https://www.kent.police.uk/hyg/privacy/ or
https://www.essex.police.uk/hyg/privacy/. Additionally for our Terms and
Conditions please go to https://www.kent.police.uk/hyg/terms-con...
or https://www.essex.police.uk/hyg/terms-co...

D. Moore left an annotation ()

Useful information:

Home Office counting rules - sexual offences (effective from April 2021)

'Sexual grooming

General Rule: One crime for each child.

Examples

1: A 60 year old male posted photographs of his teenage son on internet chat rooms and posed as his son. Following frequent internet chats with two 13 year old girls he encouraged them to travel to a London Station to meet him for sex.
Two crimes (class 88/1-88A).

2: A sports coach arranges for his 14 year old star pupil to meet up for a winter training week in Spain with him. He is arrested at Heathrow in possession of condoms and lubricants which he admits were for a sexual use on his star pupil.

One crime (class 88/1 –88A

'Principal Crime Example: see General Rules Section F and Annex C.

If a person has sexual activity with a child following grooming, record the substantive sexual offence only. A 40 year old male posted photographs of his teenage son on internet chat rooms and posed as his son. Following frequent internet chats with two 13 year old girls he encouraged them to travel to a London Station to meet him for sex. He has sexual intercourse with one of them and is arrested meeting the other girl.

One crime (class22/12 -22B) and one crime (class 88/1 -88A).'

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

BBC News (13/5/21)

'The body overseeing criminal sentences in England and Wales is proposing treating paedophiles who are caught in stings the same as abusers who harm real children.'

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-57095465

Impact Assessment, The Home Office
Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

Sex offender management (g/h pages 6-7/16-19/24-25/31-34/49-59/75-76/80)

Information on polygraphs (49)

'Government intervention is necessary to address this gap in criminal law and ensure that those that arrange or facilitate child sex offences targeting children under the age of 13 are sentenced considering the additional vulnerability of the intended victims.'

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/bi...

J Roberts left an annotation ()

You may be interested in this:

'National Police Chiefs’ Council Responding to Online Child Abuse Activists

2.2 Analysis of incidents of activism has revealed a mixed picture. Some activist groups have amended their mode of operation such that they pass packages of information to the police without having real world contact with the person suspected of offending behaviour. Whilst this is a positive development many groups continue to insist on carrying out a physical intervention and only notify the police post or concurrent to the event. This is less desirable for reasons that have been previously articulated. There is an increased prevalence of direct criminality where purported activists have no intention to notify the police but use the opportunity of an encounter to extort or rob.

2.3 The complex, nuanced and often overlapping nature of activism and volunteering make it difficult to be prescriptive as to the approach to be taken. It is not legally practicable for policing to develop memoranda of understanding or protocol of operation with activists without risking claims of abuse of process. Where the state is seen to circumvent statutory regulation by sub-contracting work to public volunteers it is highly likely that criminal prosecution will be stayed.'

https://www.npcc.police.uk/2019%20FOI/NP...

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.