Forces face probe over intelligence

Published: Wednesday 12th November 2014 by The News Editor

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Three police forces are to be investigated over alleged failures to act on intelligence relating to indecent images of children.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission will investigate Essex, North Yorkshire and North Wales police forces in relation to so-called Project Spade intelligence received from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop).

The move comes after Essex Police referred itself to the IPCC following a delay in acting on an intelligence package from the National Crime Agency (NCA) in November 2013, which identified now-deceased teacher Martin Goldberg as a potential paedophile.

Goldberg, who worked at Thorpe Hall School in Southend, was found to have hundreds of images of pupils on his computer when he was discovered dead at his Essex home the day after police had called on him.

Following the Essex referral, the IPCC wrote to chief constables of all police forces in England and Wales to ask whether their force received Project Spade material from the NCA and if so to review the way they treated the information.

As a result, the police watchdog received referrals from North Yorkshire and North Wales Police.

IPCC deputy chairman Sarah Green said: ” There is rightly considerable public concern about how police forces deal with sexual offences involving children.

“The IPCC takes this issue seriously and proactively contacted all forces and asked them to review their handling of intelligence to determine the scale of any issues.

“Our investigations will examine carefully how intelligence from Ceop was dealt with by these three forces.”

The IPCC has also received a referral from the NCA relating to a failure to send out Project Spade intelligence received in July 2012 to UK police forces until November 2013.

Toronto Police in Canada provided the information to Ceop, which included customer details of purchasers of indecent DVDs and videos.

Figures obtained by the Press Association last month showed that more than 200 suspects are still being investigated after information was first passed to the Ceop by Canadian police in July 2012.

Among the 21 UK forces that were able to provide a detailed breakdown of how the Canadian cases – which came out of an international probe dubbed Operation Spade – had progressed, a total of 271 are still ongoing.

The figures also showed that from a total of 724 referrals made to the forces concerned, 34 people had been charged and five had accepted cautions.

Controversy was sparked when it emerged that the tip-offs included information about disgraced Cambridgeshire medic Myles Bradbury as well as teachers Mr Goldberg and Gareth Williams, who both secretly filmed children.

Williams, from Cardiff, is now serving a five-year jail term, but Goldberg was found dead a day after police first contacted him.

Following the death of Mr Goldberg, 46, a search of his house was conducted and 7,257 indecent images of children that he had downloaded from the internet were found.

In addition, 1,468 images that appear to have been created by Mr Goldberg were discovered, which included 465 images depicting nudity that appeared to have been taken or recorded at Southend Leisure and Tennis Centre swimming pool changing rooms.

A further 75 depicting nudity that appear to have been taken or recorded by Mr Goldberg at Thorpe Hall School boys’ changing rooms were also found.

Published: Wednesday 12th November 2014 by The News Editor

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