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.
Of the following offences resulting in an arrest in the last three financial years how many refer to the involvement of so-called ‘paedophile hunting groups’ (also known as 'anti-paedophile activist groups, or 'vigilante anti-paedophile groups'), and of these in how many is the arrested individual known to have gone on to take their own life if held?
ADULT ATTEMPT TO MEET A BOY UNDER 16 YEARS OF AGE FOLLOWING GROOMING
ADULT ATTEMPT TO MEET A GIRL UNDER 16 YEARS OF AGE FOLLOWING GROOMING
ADULT MEET A BOY UNDER 16 YEARS OF AGE FOLLOWING GROOMING
ADULT MEET A GIRL UNDER 16 YEARS OF AGE FOLLOWING GROOMING
ATTEMPTING TO ENGAGE IN SEXUAL COMMUNICATION WITH A CHILD
ENGAGE IN SEXUAL COMMUNICATION WITH A CHILD
We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention.
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 in part by Northumbria Police.
I am able to disclose the located information to you as follows.
In relation to the first part of your request, over the last three financial years (2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18), there have been 46 arrests for the offences as described by you.
Northumbria Police hold no information at the second part of your request, we have no recording classification of ‘suicide’ to allow us ascertain this part The determination of "suicide" can only be made by the coroner and any inquest will be some considerable time after incident logs are finalised.
The following should also be noted.
Northumbria Police Digital Policing lead, Superintendent Michael Barton, said: “Protecting vulnerable people is Northumbria Police’s number one priority and we have dedicated teams focused solely on safeguarding those who are most at risk of being targeted by sexual predators.
"We employ a number of different tactics in our Paedophile Online Investigation Team to bring offenders to justice. This has resulted in successful convictions and it is work we are extremely proud of.
“Our message has always been that members of the public – including online child abuse activist groups – should not take any form of vigilante action.
"Given the determination of these groups to continue with this activity, we ensure that our staff have clear procedures to follow when called upon to react and investigate incidents they bring to our attention – in a manner that is as safe as possible for all concerned.
"We understand the desire to protect children but we would urge any member of the public who has information about child sexual abuse, online or otherwise, to get in contact with the police so we can investigate.”