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Paedophile Hunting Groups - 1392/20

Date Responded 15 October 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. Please provide a copy of your guidance dealing with requests to anti-paedophile groups like COST to remove videos of suspected sex offenders that they catch.

2. Please provide a copy of your guidance dealing with suspected sex-offenders reported to you who work in positions of trust like teachers and medical professionals.

3. For the year 2019/20, please provide all recorded crime figures for your force relating to the online grooming of children. By 'grooming' I mean sexually motivated conduct done in pursuit of sexual gratification or in pursuit of a future sexual relationship.

In Response:

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

I am able to disclose the located information to you as follows.

1. No information held. We don’t have any specific ‘guidance’ as such. We would advise the vigilante group to remove the Facebook post if it reveals the identity of a suspect, and / or if it identifies any innocent member of the public at the same time, in order to safeguard them from any risk of harm. An Officer may request the removal of a video if they feel it may jeopardise a case or cause a risk to the suspect or community.

2. Anyone who works for the Local Authority or a position of trust ie teacher, foster carer , health worker or social worker etc if they are suspected of any allegation from theft, assault to sexual offences are referred to the LADO – Local Authority Designated Officer. Any allegation will then be discussed and the LADO will then make the decision on whether that person is suspended and ultimately sacked or returns to work.

3. The following offences have been searched to provide a response at this point.
Engage in sexual communication with a child
Meeting a female child following sexual grooming etc. - offender 18 or over and victim under 16
Meeting a male child following sexual grooming etc. - offender 18 or over and victim under 16

The result of those searches are as below:

Offence

Count

Engage in sexual communication with a child

132

Meeting a female child following sexual grooming etc. - offender 18 or over and victim under 16

70

Meeting a male child following sexual grooming etc. - offender 18 or over and victim under 16

11

Total

213

 

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