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Paedophile hunters and online grooming

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Dear Derbyshire 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

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...

Chesterfield man questioned (No More Silent Voices UK):

https://www.bitchute.com/video/NtmL1IEiO...

Derby man questioned (Children's Innocence Matters - CIM):

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

More videos can be found here:

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

Freedom of Information Office,

1 Attachment

Dear Sirs

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST

 

I write in connection with your request for information as shown below.

 

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.

 

Your request will now be considered in accordance with the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 (the Act). You should expect to receive a response
within the statutory timescale of 20 working days as defined by the Act,
subject to the information not being exempt or containing a reference to a
third party. In some circumstances Derbyshire Constabulary may be unable
to achieve this deadline. If this is likely you will be informed and given
a revised timescale at the earliest opportunity.

 

There may be a fee payable for the retrieval, collation and provision of
the information you request. If this is the case you will be informed and
the 20 working day timescale will be suspended until we receive payment
from you. If you choose not to make payment then your request will remain
unanswered.

 

Some requests may also require either full or partial transference to
another public authority in order to answer your query in the fullest
possible way. Again, you will be informed if this is the case.

 

Should you have any further enquiries concerning this matter, please write
or contact the Freedom of Information Officer, on the telephone number
below quoting the reference number shown in the header of this e-mail.

 

Yours faithfully

 

Mrs C A South

Disclosure Officer
Freedom of Information Unit
Information Management
Derbyshire Constabulary 
Butterley Hall

Ripley

Derbyshire

DE5 3RS
Tel: 0300 122 8752

E-mail: [1][email address]

Web: [2]http://www.derbyshire.police.uk

[3]cid:image001.jpg@01D5C70A.A3EEBC30

 

PLEASE NOTE: This e-mail message is intended solely for the person to whom
it is addressed and may contain information of a confidential or legally
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prohibited. Any views or opinions expressed in this e-mail are solely
those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of
Derbyshire Constabulary or any other person and Derbyshire Constabulary
does not accept liability for any statement or opinion expressed. Please
be aware Derbyshire Constabulary monitors all internet e-mail activity and
content to maintain system performance and appropriate business usage.
Derbyshire Constabulary’s privacy notice can be viewed [4]Here.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.derbyshire.police.uk/
4. https://www.derbyshire.police.uk/hyg/fpn...

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...

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...

Freedom of Information Office,

3 Attachments

Dear D Moore

 

Thank you for making a Freedom of Information request to the Derbyshire
Constabulary.

 

Please find attached our response.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Kevin Lea
Freedom of Information Officer
FOI Unit
Information Management Department
Derbyshire Constabulary 
Butterley Hall

Ripley

Derbyshire

DE5 3RS
Tel: 0300 122 8752

E-mail: E-mail: [1][email address]

 

[2]cid:image007.jpg@01D53277.5E8B6B70

 

PLEASE NOTE: This e-mail message is intended solely for the person to whom
it is addressed and may contain information of a confidential or legally
privileged nature which should not be disclosed. If you have received this
message in error, please notify the sender immediately and delete the
message and any attachments or copies. Any review, re-transmission,
dissemination or other use of, or taking action in reliance upon, this
message by persons or entities other than the intended recipient is
prohibited. Any views or opinions expressed in this e-mail are solely
those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of
Derbyshire Constabulary or any other person and Derbyshire Constabulary
does not accept liability for any statement or opinion expressed. Please
be aware Derbyshire Constabulary monitors all internet e-mail activity and
content to maintain system performance and appropriate business usage.
Derbyshire Constabulary’s privacy notice can be viewed [3]Here.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
3. https://www.derbyshire.police.uk/hyg/fpn...

Dear Derbyshire Constabulary,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Derbyshire Constabulary's handling of my FOI request 'Paedophile hunters and online grooming'.

First, thank you for the useful information that you provided. I wish you, however, to review your decision to engage section 40 with regard to my fourth request:

'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'

Your response included::

'On this occasion I have concerns that if the data is disclosed as retrieved it may lead to the disclosure of information personal to individuals and identities. Given that a FOI release is to the world and not just the applicant with all its ramifications (see below) I have to factor in work colleagues, relatives, friends, aggrieved, members of the public etc. As a consequence I am not prepared to release the data requested.'

You have not quantified the risk of disclosure and have simply said that 'it MAY lead to the disclosure of information personal to individuals and identities'. (emphasis added).

In fact, the names of so-called paedophile hunting groups are already in the public domain; therefore individuals intent on harming group members already have their names. Also, when a group questions a suspect they tell the suspect (the person perhaps with the greatest motive to cause harm to group members) who they are. Furthermore, these groups livestream their activities on Facebook for the whole world to see. Publicity is exactly what they want in their attempts to protect children from paedophiles. If a suspect forgot the name of the group whose members he wanted to harm, he would just have to go online to find out who they were. Derbyshire 'stings' include, for example:

Derby - Children's Innocence Matters

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

Riddings - STOP

https://www.bitchute.com/video/elj7k5D5d...

Derbyshire - UK Justice and 4 The Kids

https://www.bitchute.com/video/2NcnZvXNx...

Derbyshire - North West Hebophile Hunters

https://www.bitchute.com/video/664UDFwga...

Derby - SGTI

https://www.bitchute.com/video/cFKWU8iVS...

Buxton - UK Justice and 4 The Kids

https://www.bitchute.com/video/5eIMW4IC2...

Furthermore, it is not evident from your response that you have asked the groups concerned whether they would object to having their names disclosed.

Another reason for disclosing the names of the groups concerned is that their activities have criticised by the authorities. Consider, for example, this report by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland titled 'Strategic review of Police Scotland’s response to online child sexual abuse':

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

'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)

If the public knew the names of these groups, then they would know that they are 'unregulated' and 'untrained'. As things stand, the public may believe that such groups are an arm of the state and consequently approach them rather than the police for assistance. The personal details of suspects, and in some cases children, would then be disseminated to groups deemed unregulated and untrained. Instead of protecting personal information by invoking section 40 you may be doing the opposite.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/p...

Yours faithfully,

D. Moore

Freedom of Information Office,

1 Attachment

Dear D Moore,

 

I acknowledge receipt of your email of 1 January 2021 requesting that
Derbyshire Constabulary review its response to your request.

 

The review will be conducted in accordance to Derbyshire Constabulary’s
review procedure and whilst every effort will be made to have a response
to you within a 20-working day period due to the ongoing national
Coronavirus emergency our ability to meet this deadline is significantly
reduced. Whilst we are currently unable to provide a realistic time frame
for response please be assured of our continued best efforts. We intend to
provide updates on a regular basis but again please bear with us.

 

Should you require further information relative to response delays the
below link will be of use:

 

[1]Data protection and coronavirus information.

 

If you wish to discuss this matter prior to Derbyshire Constabulary’s
response please contact me on the below number.

 

Maddie Binnie

Disclosure Assistant
Freedom of Information Unit
Information Management
Derbyshire Constabulary
Butterley Hall

Ripley

Derbyshire

DE5 3RS
Tel: 0300 122 8752

E-mail: [2][email address]

Web: [3]http://www.derbyshire.police.uk

[4]cid:image001.jpg@01D5C70A.A3EEBC30

 

PLEASE NOTE: This e-mail message is intended solely for the person to whom
it is addressed and may contain information of a confidential or legally
privileged nature which should not be disclosed. If you have received this
message in error, please notify the sender immediately and delete the
message and any attachments or copies. Any review, re-transmission,
dissemination or other use of, or taking action in reliance upon, this
message by persons or entities other than the intended recipient is
prohibited. Any views or opinions expressed in this e-mail are solely
those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of
Derbyshire Constabulary or any other person and Derbyshire Constabulary
does not accept liability for any statement or opinion expressed. Please
be aware Derbyshire Constabulary monitors all internet e-mail activity and
content to maintain system performance and appropriate business usage.
Derbyshire Constabulary’s privacy notice can be viewed [5]Here.

References

Visible links
1. https://ico.org.uk/global/data-protectio...
2. mailto:[email address]
3. http://www.derbyshire.police.uk/
5. https://www.derbyshire.police.uk/hyg/fpn...

Freedom of Information Office,

1 Attachment

Dear D Moore,

 

Please accept my apologies, the correct date of your email was 1 February
2021.

 

I acknowledge receipt of your email of 1 February 2021 requesting that
Derbyshire Constabulary review its response to your request.

 

The review will be conducted in accordance to Derbyshire Constabulary’s
review procedure and whilst every effort will be made to have a response
to you within a 20-working day period due to the ongoing national
Coronavirus emergency our ability to meet this deadline is significantly
reduced. Whilst we are currently unable to provide a realistic time frame
for response please be assured of our continued best efforts. We intend to
provide updates on a regular basis but again please bear with us.

 

Should you require further information relative to response delays the
below link will be of use:

 

[1]Data protection and coronavirus information.

 

If you wish to discuss this matter prior to Derbyshire Constabulary’s
response please contact me on the below number.

 

Maddie Binnie

Disclosure Assistant
Freedom of Information Unit
Information Management
Derbyshire Constabulary
Butterley Hall

Ripley

Derbyshire

DE5 3RS
Tel: 0300 122 8752

E-mail: [2][email address]

Web: [3]http://www.derbyshire.police.uk

[4]cid:image001.jpg@01D5C70A.A3EEBC30

 

PLEASE NOTE: This e-mail message is intended solely for the person to whom
it is addressed and may contain information of a confidential or legally
privileged nature which should not be disclosed. If you have received this
message in error, please notify the sender immediately and delete the
message and any attachments or copies. Any review, re-transmission,
dissemination or other use of, or taking action in reliance upon, this
message by persons or entities other than the intended recipient is
prohibited. Any views or opinions expressed in this e-mail are solely
those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of
Derbyshire Constabulary or any other person and Derbyshire Constabulary
does not accept liability for any statement or opinion expressed. Please
be aware Derbyshire Constabulary monitors all internet e-mail activity and
content to maintain system performance and appropriate business usage.
Derbyshire Constabulary’s privacy notice can be viewed [5]Here.

References

Visible links
1. https://ico.org.uk/global/data-protectio...
2. mailto:[email address]
3. http://www.derbyshire.police.uk/
5. https://www.derbyshire.police.uk/hyg/fpn...

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.