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Sexual Communications Involving Under 18s - 066/20

Date Responded 29 January 2020

Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')

As you may be aware the purpose of the Act is to allow a general right of access to information held at the time of a request, by a Public Authority (including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.

You asked:

  1. The number of incidents of sexual communications with a child recorded by your force. May you please provide the data per year for the following calendar years: 2019 and 2018. (i.e in 2019, 12 crimes of sexual communication with a child were recorded)
  2. In each instance may you please outline the medium used to facilitate the communication i.e text, Snapchat, Twitter, TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp (i.e in 2019, 12 crimes of sexual communication with a child were recorded - 6 incidents were recorded over Instagram, 6 were recorded on TikTok etc)
  3. In each instance may you please outline the age of the victim involved. (i.e in 2019, 12 crimes of sexual communication with a child were recorded - 6 incidents were recorded on Instagram, 6 were recorded on TikTok etc.) The 6 incidents on Instagram involved individuals aged 11,14,16, 17 and 9.

In Response:

Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with the Corporate Development Department of Northumbria Police.  I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police.

 

With regards to the data supplied it should be noted that:

  • There are several crimes wherein multiple means of communication have been used - the spreadsheet counts each of these separately.
  • Age is not always available in these cases.  Notably, there were a number of these instigated by paedophile hunter groups, wherein a decoy was used to elicit response from the offender.
  • "Forms of communication" has been gathered from a free-text reading of the crime information.  In some cases this has not been specified exactly - eg, "social media" used rather than a specific website or app.
  • "Direct" in communication refers to face-to-face communication rather than some form of electronic message.
  • The cases wherein the age of the victim is upwards of 18 feature one case of a paedophile hunter, and one case wherein the child was contacted and the parents age was used to record the crime.

Bearing all of the above in mind please see the attached spreadsheet which should satisfy your request.

If you decide to write an article/use the enclosed data we would expect that you to take into consideration the factors highlighted above so as not to mislead members of the public or official bodies or misrepresent the relevance of the whole or any part of this disclosed material.

Sexual Communications Involving Under 18s - 066/20

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