IPCC probe three police forces over ‘failure to act on intelligence about indecent images of children’
Essex, North Yorkshire and North Wales police forces will be investigated over allegations that they failed to act on intelligence passed to them
By Martin Evans
4:35PM GMT 12 Nov 2014
Three police forces are to be investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) over allegations that they failed to act on intelligence passed to them about paedophiles in their area.
An investigation has been launched into the actions of Essex, North Yorkshire and North Wales police forces after they were handed information via the Canadian authorities about people who had been accessing indecent images of children.
Project Spade was launched after police in Toronto identified thousands of men in the UK who had allegedly been purchasing videos and DVDs featuring pornographic images of youngsters.
The information was first passed to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), which is now part of the National Crime Agency (NCA), which in turn was passed the information to individual police forces.
But concern was raised over the speed with which forces were acting on the intelligence, after it emerged that Essex Police had taken ten months to investigate a local teacher who was suspected of being a paedophile.
The day after officers contacted Southend based teacher, Martin Goldberg, about the allegations he was found dead at his home, where officers later discovered hundreds of images of pupils on his computer.
As a result of the case, Essex Police referred itself to the IPCC, which in turn wrote to all the forces in England and Wales to ask how they had treated the information from Project Spade.
An investigation is now to be launched into the actions of 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.”
There will also be an investigation into how the NCA dealt with information after it emerged that there had been a lengthy delay in the dissemination of intelligence to UK police forces.