04 August 2016
Dorset Police is expanding the team that deals with cases of online child abuse in response to rising demand.
An additional officer has already joined the Paedophile On-Line Investigation Team (POLIT), and another two are expected to join the team by the end of the month.
POLIT is formed within CAIT (Child Abuse Investigation Team) and works as the Force’s specialist response to subjects who view and/or distribute indecent images of children (IIOC) - or who groom, incite and/or facilitate sexual activity with children through use of the internet.
POLIT officers proactively seek out offenders whilst also having responsibility for reactive referrals from the community, National Crime Agency and other law enforcement agencies throughout the world. Their work also contains referrals from companies such as KIK, Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter regarding users sharing IIOC, alongside national operations targeting known nominals and organised crime groups.
Within the first six months of this year, Dorset POLIT arrested 67 suspected perpetrators and 104 children were safeguarded or protected.
Detective Chief Inspector Gavin Dudfield said: “We are determined to identify and bring to justice, those who use the internet as a means to sexually abuse children or view and distribute indecent images of children.
“Our POLIT officers work to identify and prosecute offenders and protect children. This increase in resource means that the team has more resilience to dealing with online child abuse.”
Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, Martyn Underhill, said: “One of the big, emerging, issues for people living in Dorset is child abuse and that’s why I made a commitment to increase the number of officers dealing with cases of online child abuse within my first 100 days in Office. This area of business is a Force priority due to the vulnerability of the children involved, and the long term impact incidents can have on them.
“Dorset is among a minority of police forces that were graded as ‘Good’ in the HMIC vulnerability inspection last year. The Force was praised for its work to encourage people to report sexual offences, domestic abuse and other crimes involving vulnerable victims. It is important that the Force builds on this positive result to continue to ensure the best response in dealing with online child abuse.”
Detective Chief Inspector Gavin Dudfield continues: “While our specialist officers work to identify and prosecute offenders, we also need everyone in society to do all they can to protect children.
“There are many signs that a child may be at risk. These include; drug or alcohol misuse, sexual health issues and sexualised behaviour, sudden access to money or new things, self-harm, change in appearance, and/or temperament, low self-esteem, unexplained injuries, criminality, older friends and acquaintances and repeatedly going missing, absent or truant.
“I urge anyone who has any suspicions that a child may be at risk of online grooming, or that someone possesses indecent images of children and/or is behaving inappropriately with children online, to report your concerns to the police. The information you have could be that one important piece that could prevent a child from being harmed.”
Report Child Abuse:
Dorset Police: For non-urgent reports, or to make an enquiry, please go to www.dorset.police.uk and follow the ‘Do it online’ function. Here you can pass all the details of your concerns to us via the online enquiry form. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 101. If you believe a child is in immediate danger please dial 999.
Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111
Local Authority Children’s Social Care:
• Bournemouth: 01202 456900
• Poole: 01202 735046
• Dorset: http://www.dorsetforyou.com/393713
You can also report directly to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) www.ceop.police.uk
For more information visit:
• Child Online Safety Advice: https://www.dorset.police.uk/help-advice-crime-prevention/crime-prevention-help-advice/cyber-crime/child-online-safety/
• NWG http://www.nwgnetwork.org/
• Barnardos http://www.barnardos.org.uk
• NSPCC 0808 800 5000, email@example.com, www.nspcc.org.uk/childsexualexploitation
• National Helpline for male victims of CSE 07808 863 662
• UK safer internet centre website. www.saferinternet.org.uk
• CEOP resources suitable for parents and children of different ages: www.thinkuknow.co.uk
• Concerned about your thoughts or behaviour? Visit: www.stopitnow.org.uk
• Child Online Safety: www.internetmatters.org
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