ONLINE POLICE ON PAEDOPHILE HUNT
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