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Dorset Police response to sex offender laptop concerns

Dorset Police has been asked to refuse the return of a laptop and other electronic devices to a man who has been convicted of sexual offences.

This equipment was seized in the initial stages of the investigation, but was not used evidentially at court as it contained no indecent images or other evidence of criminality. Therefore, destruction orders for the devices or the data on them could not be sought. In such cases, the law is very clear that the police have no option but to return the equipment to its owner in its original condition.

Detective Inspector Steve Symms of Bournemouth CID said: “We sympathise with the personal reasons for the request being made and recognise we are in a difficult position that may seem contrary to public opinion. However, as the police, we must operate impartially within the law as it stands.

"We understand that the person making the request is seeking legal avenues to block the return of the equipment. We have also asked for legal advice to explore any other options available to us and we are working to identify compromises that could be reached voluntarily.”

Issued: 11 April 2014