ON­LINE PO­LICE ON PAE­DOPHILE HUNT

Wales On Sunday - - NEWS - JA­SON EVANS news­desk@waleson­line.co.uk

A42-YEAR-OLD pervert with a stag­ger­ing 275,676 images and 6,220 videos on his com­puter, in­clud­ing a large number of the most ex­treme images, has been jailed – and it’s thanks to a new Welsh po­lice unit.

Foren­sic in­ves­ti­ga­tors found the images on a com­puter be­long­ing to Ian David Cro­ker, from Nar­berth. Some 42,222 of the images were in­de­cent.

They also found ev­i­dence that Cro­ker had been filming men in pub­lic toi­lets.

Cro­ker was caught by a new Welsh po­lice unit which is ded­i­cated to track­ing down of­fend­ers who view and share in­de­cent images of chil­dren on the in­ter­net.

He pleaded guilty to pos­sess­ing in­de­cent images of chil­dren and to voyeurism and was sen­tenced to 30 months in prison.

Dyfed-Powys Po­lice’s on­line in­ves­ti­ga­tion team – Polit – was launched in March this year in response to a grow­ing con­cern about peo­ple ac­cess­ing in­de­cent images on the web. It has al­ready car­ried out 16 war­rants on sus­pects in the first five months of its ex­is­tence.

The team, based in the force’s head­quar­ters in Car­marthen , is made up of dig­i­tal me­dia in­ves­ti­ga­tors, foren­sic ex­am­in­ers, in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cers, and an­a­lyt­i­cal staff – and its job is to track of­fend­ers and gather ev­i­dence of their on­line crimes.

Also caught by the team was Michael Nathan Co­hen, from Kid­welly.

The for­mer se­nior pro­ba­tion of­fi­cer was caught red-handed watch­ing a child abuse film when po­lice raided his house on the morn­ing of June 27.

Dyfed-Powys Po­lice De­tec­tive Sergeant Mathew Davies said the of­fi­cers chose to swoop on the 71-year-old’s house in the morn­ing af­ter anal­y­sis of in­tel­li­gence showed that was the time of day he was most likely to be down­load­ing images.

Co­hen was still in his dress­ing gown when of­fi­cers knocked on his door. On his com­puter they found more than 150 images and films of child abuse.

He was sen­tenced to eight months in prison, sus­pended for 18 months, and or­dered to com­plete a re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion course.

The team works with na­tional and in­ter­nal agen­cies, in­clud­ing the UK Child Ex­ploita­tion and On­line Pro­tec­tion Cen­tre, and the Amer­i­can Na­tional Cen­ter for Miss­ing and Ex­ploited Chil­dren, as well as with po­lice forces around the world. Once in­di­vid­ual com­put­ers used for down­load­ing the images from the net have been iden­ti­fied, Polit swings into ac­tion – ex­e­cut­ing war­rants at the ad­dresses linked to those com­put­ers, ar­rest­ing sus­pects and seiz­ing com­put­ers for anal­y­sis.

DS Davies said: “We are work­ing closely with part­ner agen­cies in both the United King­dom and US to iden­tify of­fend­ers op­er­at­ing on­line, view­ing and shar­ing in­de­cent images of chil­dren.

“The im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Polit team at Dyfed-Powys em­braces the need for im­proved dig­i­tal work­ing and makes a sub­stan­tial con­tri­bu­tion to the ef­fi­ciency of bring­ing those of­fend­ers who com­mit this type of crime quickly to jus­tice.

“The in­vest­ment recog­nises the chang­ing na­ture of crime – of­fend­ers are in­creas­ingly us­ing the in­ter­net and tech­nol­ogy to harm chil­dren.

“If peo­ple choose to en­gage in this type of hideous and de­spi­ca­ble crime then they can ex­pect that spe­cial­ist po­lice of­fi­cers will de­tect their ac­tiv­ity.

“Safe­guard­ing young peo­ple and vul­ner­a­ble per­sons is a pri­or­ity for Dyfed-Powys Po­lice and we would urge any­one with in­for­ma­tion about of­fences in­volv­ing chil­dren to con­tact us.”

De­tec­tive Sergeant Davies said: “It is im­por­tant to re­alise that down­load­ing and watch­ing in­de­cent images and films is not a vic­tim­less crime.

“This has a huge im­pact on the young peo­ple in­volved, as well as the fam­i­lies of those who are of­fend­ing.

“I would like to warn peo­ple liv­ing in the Dyfed-Powys Po­lice force area that we are proac­tively tar­get­ing those who carry out such ac­tiv­i­ties, and the next knock at the door could be of­fi­cers from my team.”

Foren­sic in­ves­ti­ga­tor Mar­tyn Grif­fiths from Dyfed-Powys Po­lice on­line in­ves­ti­ga­tion team

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