Nowhere to hide: new team in major crackdown on internet paedophiles

NET CLOSING IN: Police vow to seek out internet predators

ON THE CASE: Acting Detective Superintendent and Director of Public Protection Chris Naughton

SNARED: Mark Luscombe

First published in News
Last updated
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“PREDATORS who prey on the vulnerable need to be brought to justice.”

Those are the words of a top policeman who is leading Dorset’s crackdown on internet paedophiles.

Acting Detective Superintendent and Director of Public Protection Chris Naughton, pictured inset below, who is heading up the newly-formed Paedophile Online Investigation Team (POLIT), said there will be ‘zero tolerance’ for criminals using the internet to participate in child abuse.

The unit, which draws in specialist officers from across the force, has already put one offender behind bars.

Mark Luscombe, 29, of Verwood, was sentenced to five years in prison in January for sexual offences against children.

Since the POLIT launched in November last year, there have been 37 crime referrals, and six people have been charged with sex offences.

Det Supt Naughton said: “There are three strands that we are keen to reinforce.

“The first is that of internet safety. This is where it all begins, and where paedophiles can find their young victims.

“The internet is an absolutely wonderful resource, and people should be able to enjoy it. But awareness of what goes on online is vital. There are people out there who want to groom and sexually exploit children, and the message here is simply do not let them have that opportunity.

“The second message is to those who download images of children online. There are many who can’t connect what they are doing with abuse, but by accessing that image of a child being abused, tortured or raped, the offender is revictimising that youngster.

“If you download images, we will find you and we will bring you to justice. We’d also like to tell anyone who has sexual urges towards children to get help now.

“Get control of the situation before it becomes too late.”

Officers drawn into POLIT work exclusively for the unit, and Det Supt Naughton admitted they face the darkest corners of the internet each and every day.

All have mandatory health monitoring sessions to help them cope, but the policeman said that it is “the most rewarding line of police work when a dangerous offender is prosecuted”.

“This is a priority for Dorset Police, and it is very important to each and every one of the officers who work in the team,” he added.

“We are all dedicated to tackling this menace.”

Martyn Underhill, Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “One of my highest priorities for this year is to raise greater awareness of cybercrime.

“Wherever I go in Dorset, the public have made it quite clear that they are worried by cybercrime and online fraud.

“In last year's community crime survey, the public in Dorset listed cybercrime as their number one concern. The government and the south west region of police forces have identified that this is the most significant emerging threat to our residents. Equally important are the issues of sexting and identity theft.

“Cyber education cannot start too young. It is important that we teach children of the dangers on the web and to use the internet safely.”

Snared in US police sting

Mark Luscombe, pictured, was sentenced for eight counts of making indecent photographs of a child, five counts of distributing indecent photographs of a child, sexual activity with a child and arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence.

He also pleaded guilty to another offence of possessing an extreme pornographic image in court.

Luscombe was snared after asking an American officer – posing as the father of an 11-year-old girl – to assault his daughter live via webcam for him.

He ‘paid’ for the request with around 50 images depicting the abuse of children.

Pervert made over 20,000 vile pictures and films

A Bournemouth man will be sentenced today after admitting making more than 20,000 indecent pictures and movies of children.

Benjamin John Ashman, 36, pleaded guilty to 30 counts relating to child and animal pornography at Bournemouth Crown Court in March.

Ashman, of Hyde Road, made nearly 20,000 indecent images and almost 650 movies at levels one to five – the most extreme – and also had in his possession 46 extreme pornographic images and 31 movies involving animals.

He also admitted taking and distributing an indecent level one image of a child, and distributing four other lower-level images.

Abuse streamlined live over a 'hidden web'

A ‘HIDDEN’ internet used by criminals to access live online child abuse will become a growing threat over the next three years.

The first nationwide assessment by the National Crime Agency (NCA) found that paedophiles will increasingly use the ‘hidden web’ – internet content that is not accessed by popular search engines – to access images of child abuse.

The report said: “The online streaming of real-time child sexual exploitation and abuse is a growing threat.

“Cyber techniques have proliferated and are used ever more extensively by wider serious and organised crime groups to commit ‘traditional’ crimes.”

The head of professional practice at the College of Policing, Giles Herdale, said 6,000 detectives will be trained this year specifically in tackling online crime.

He added: “The National Crime Agency’s report shows that as the internet has changed how many people communicate, organise and trade, it has also brought criminals new opportunities.

“The speed at which these changes have taken place has challenged the police service to ensure that our officers and staff are equipped with the right skills to tackle crime.

“The College of Policing is taking steps so that knowledge around cybercrime is seen not as a specialism in policing but as a core part of any investigator's knowledge.”

And Dorset Police is keeping up with constantly evolving technology to tackle paedophiles, with social media sites such as Facebook, as well as chatrooms and Skype, often used by offenders.

“This wonderful new age of technology does have a dark side,” said Det Supt Naughton.

“That’s why we’re here. We want to pull the veil back and expose those who operate in the shadows.”

The officer was unable to reveal tactics for dealing with the hidden internet, but said: “We are keeping up with those who use technology to abuse children.”

Worldwide web content that is not part of the ‘surface web’ – also known as ‘deep web’ – can only be accessed using dedicated software.

The term refers to a collection of all websites and databases that search engines like Google don’t or can’t index, which is many times larger than the web as we know it in terms of volume of information.

 

Comments (15)

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6:48am Fri 2 May 14

Azphreal says...

So Mark Luscombe was caught by the US police not this group.
So Mark Luscombe was caught by the US police not this group. Azphreal
  • Score: 7

7:54am Fri 2 May 14

RM says...

I thought there already was a police group called CHEOPS (or similar) who did this task? Any info Echo? I imagine Ashman is hoping he'll get Judge Wiggs today.
I thought there already was a police group called CHEOPS (or similar) who did this task? Any info Echo? I imagine Ashman is hoping he'll get Judge Wiggs today. RM
  • Score: 2

8:26am Fri 2 May 14

poolebabe says...

Poppycock. The law is very deliberate and perverts can target children and leave very little if any trace. The likes of Facebook do not keep enough information about accounts to make an effective case, and it can take up to a year to get anything at all. All a pervert has to say in defence is "my account was hacked" and if the police can't prove they had sole use of the account or device, they walk free. It is not an account users responsibility to protect their accounts and they do not have to had reported hacking to use in defence.

There is also another problem. The cps. For the what is classed as a minor offence, (even some cases of making or accessing indecent images of a child) they won't prosecute on public interest grounds. The police have powers to put people on the sex offenders register without a conviction. The likes of Facebook will not bar users unless the user has a conviction. Without a conviction or custodial sentence, the police are limited to the length of time a pervert can spend on the register. The police can also issue a risk of sex offences order, but without it, perverts can still access and use devices to access the Internet. Even if they are on the sex offender register. The sex offender register alone, does not stop the pervert from contacting victims.

Recently, the law was changed to make it easier for ex cons to have their convictions or cautions removed from record after a set period of time. If a paedophile has a risk of sex offences order or is on the sex offender register without a conviction, could it be likely those offences could be classed as spent after a period of time? Worrying. Is there ever a time to trust someone with children who have broken the law this way?

I have lost faith that the police can and will act and do enough to protect children. The best way to protect children is to keep them off social networking and limit Internet access. It is not safe. The majority of us know the line, do not cross it and assume consequences if we do. The law is the problem, and unless it changes significantly, this story is pie in the sky.
Poppycock. The law is very deliberate and perverts can target children and leave very little if any trace. The likes of Facebook do not keep enough information about accounts to make an effective case, and it can take up to a year to get anything at all. All a pervert has to say in defence is "my account was hacked" and if the police can't prove they had sole use of the account or device, they walk free. It is not an account users responsibility to protect their accounts and they do not have to had reported hacking to use in defence. There is also another problem. The cps. For the what is classed as a minor offence, (even some cases of making or accessing indecent images of a child) they won't prosecute on public interest grounds. The police have powers to put people on the sex offenders register without a conviction. The likes of Facebook will not bar users unless the user has a conviction. Without a conviction or custodial sentence, the police are limited to the length of time a pervert can spend on the register. The police can also issue a risk of sex offences order, but without it, perverts can still access and use devices to access the Internet. Even if they are on the sex offender register. The sex offender register alone, does not stop the pervert from contacting victims. Recently, the law was changed to make it easier for ex cons to have their convictions or cautions removed from record after a set period of time. If a paedophile has a risk of sex offences order or is on the sex offender register without a conviction, could it be likely those offences could be classed as spent after a period of time? Worrying. Is there ever a time to trust someone with children who have broken the law this way? I have lost faith that the police can and will act and do enough to protect children. The best way to protect children is to keep them off social networking and limit Internet access. It is not safe. The majority of us know the line, do not cross it and assume consequences if we do. The law is the problem, and unless it changes significantly, this story is pie in the sky. poolebabe
  • Score: 1

9:25am Fri 2 May 14

High Treason says...

poolebabe says...I have lost faith that the police can and will act and do enough to protect children.

Maybe not the fault of the police but the hand wringing politicians who think perverts have more rights than victims. Cuts to the justice and police budgets with soft judges. I think parents should be allowed to decide on the punishment of offenders with castration as a first choice.
poolebabe says...I have lost faith that the police can and will act and do enough to protect children. Maybe not the fault of the police but the hand wringing politicians who think perverts have more rights than victims. Cuts to the justice and police budgets with soft judges. I think parents should be allowed to decide on the punishment of offenders with castration as a first choice. High Treason
  • Score: 7

9:39am Fri 2 May 14

Adrian XX says...

The problem is that only the stupid are caught. If we could catch clever criminals we would have solved the problems of drug trafficking and drug-addiction by now.

Clearly if someone pays with a credit card directly for child abuse images, they are more easily caught than someone who moves money around through random foreign accounts or uses digital currencies.

The only way to stop future is abuse is somehow to cut demand. We simply do not know enough about paedophile psychology yet to do this and a lot more research is needed. Heavy penalties have very little effect on demand for this material in the same way heavy penalties for drug use do not eliminate drugs from society.
The problem is that only the stupid are caught. If we could catch clever criminals we would have solved the problems of drug trafficking and drug-addiction by now. Clearly if someone pays with a credit card directly for child abuse images, they are more easily caught than someone who moves money around through random foreign accounts or uses digital currencies. The only way to stop future is abuse is somehow to cut demand. We simply do not know enough about paedophile psychology yet to do this and a lot more research is needed. Heavy penalties have very little effect on demand for this material in the same way heavy penalties for drug use do not eliminate drugs from society. Adrian XX
  • Score: 8

12:27pm Fri 2 May 14

Hessenford says...

World Wide Web, they will never solve this problem no matter how much money is thrown at it, prostitution and drug smuggling have continued for years and many attempts and much money has been provided to stop them but I'm afraid its an impossibility.
World Wide Web, they will never solve this problem no matter how much money is thrown at it, prostitution and drug smuggling have continued for years and many attempts and much money has been provided to stop them but I'm afraid its an impossibility. Hessenford
  • Score: 3

12:33pm Fri 2 May 14

BournemouthMum says...

Adrian XX wrote:
The problem is that only the stupid are caught. If we could catch clever criminals we would have solved the problems of drug trafficking and drug-addiction by now.

Clearly if someone pays with a credit card directly for child abuse images, they are more easily caught than someone who moves money around through random foreign accounts or uses digital currencies.

The only way to stop future is abuse is somehow to cut demand. We simply do not know enough about paedophile psychology yet to do this and a lot more research is needed. Heavy penalties have very little effect on demand for this material in the same way heavy penalties for drug use do not eliminate drugs from society.
Most of them use Tor (an alternative browser) which is untraceable. You're right - only the thick ones get caught, those who pose much less of a threat than the clever ones who know all the tricks.
[quote][p][bold]Adrian XX[/bold] wrote: The problem is that only the stupid are caught. If we could catch clever criminals we would have solved the problems of drug trafficking and drug-addiction by now. Clearly if someone pays with a credit card directly for child abuse images, they are more easily caught than someone who moves money around through random foreign accounts or uses digital currencies. The only way to stop future is abuse is somehow to cut demand. We simply do not know enough about paedophile psychology yet to do this and a lot more research is needed. Heavy penalties have very little effect on demand for this material in the same way heavy penalties for drug use do not eliminate drugs from society.[/p][/quote]Most of them use Tor (an alternative browser) which is untraceable. You're right - only the thick ones get caught, those who pose much less of a threat than the clever ones who know all the tricks. BournemouthMum
  • Score: 3

3:43pm Fri 2 May 14

peopleareidiots says...

"Since the POLIT launched in November last year, there have been 37 crime referrals, and six people have been charged with sex offences"

Is that all?
"Since the POLIT launched in November last year, there have been 37 crime referrals, and six people have been charged with sex offences" Is that all? peopleareidiots
  • Score: -1

3:43pm Fri 2 May 14

poolebabe says...

High Treason wrote:
poolebabe says...I have lost faith that the police can and will act and do enough to protect children.

Maybe not the fault of the police but the hand wringing politicians who think perverts have more rights than victims. Cuts to the justice and police budgets with soft judges. I think parents should be allowed to decide on the punishment of offenders with castration as a first choice.
I agree. I can imagine it's very frustrating for them to invest time and money into catching these perverts, but then limited to what they can actually do. Like Bournemouthmum said, the clever ones use untraceable browsers.
[quote][p][bold]High Treason[/bold] wrote: poolebabe says...I have lost faith that the police can and will act and do enough to protect children. Maybe not the fault of the police but the hand wringing politicians who think perverts have more rights than victims. Cuts to the justice and police budgets with soft judges. I think parents should be allowed to decide on the punishment of offenders with castration as a first choice.[/p][/quote]I agree. I can imagine it's very frustrating for them to invest time and money into catching these perverts, but then limited to what they can actually do. Like Bournemouthmum said, the clever ones use untraceable browsers. poolebabe
  • Score: 1

4:49pm Fri 2 May 14

ashleycross says...

And Robert Clothier, aka Lady James?
And Robert Clothier, aka Lady James? ashleycross
  • Score: 0

5:57pm Fri 2 May 14

ShuttleX says...

BournemouthMum wrote:
Adrian XX wrote:
The problem is that only the stupid are caught. If we could catch clever criminals we would have solved the problems of drug trafficking and drug-addiction by now.

Clearly if someone pays with a credit card directly for child abuse images, they are more easily caught than someone who moves money around through random foreign accounts or uses digital currencies.

The only way to stop future is abuse is somehow to cut demand. We simply do not know enough about paedophile psychology yet to do this and a lot more research is needed. Heavy penalties have very little effect on demand for this material in the same way heavy penalties for drug use do not eliminate drugs from society.
Most of them use Tor (an alternative browser) which is untraceable. You're right - only the thick ones get caught, those who pose much less of a threat than the clever ones who know all the tricks.
Tor is not untraceable, no matter what Firefox say. Just a thought, but may be the Police are happy for people to believe it is, which makes it more likely they will make mistakes and hopefully be caught.

The Police really do the best they can to stop this sort of sick crime. This new unit will certainly help. I don't envy the officers who have to do it day in day out though. I would have steam coming out of my ears and reaching for a gun to dish out justice. This POLIT looks like a local version of CEOP which covers the Country, as well as working closely with Police abroad.

We all know that computer geeks will come out with a way to block this or that, but that in itself shouldn't be a reason to stop trying to catch them.
[quote][p][bold]BournemouthMum[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Adrian XX[/bold] wrote: The problem is that only the stupid are caught. If we could catch clever criminals we would have solved the problems of drug trafficking and drug-addiction by now. Clearly if someone pays with a credit card directly for child abuse images, they are more easily caught than someone who moves money around through random foreign accounts or uses digital currencies. The only way to stop future is abuse is somehow to cut demand. We simply do not know enough about paedophile psychology yet to do this and a lot more research is needed. Heavy penalties have very little effect on demand for this material in the same way heavy penalties for drug use do not eliminate drugs from society.[/p][/quote]Most of them use Tor (an alternative browser) which is untraceable. You're right - only the thick ones get caught, those who pose much less of a threat than the clever ones who know all the tricks.[/p][/quote]Tor is not untraceable, no matter what Firefox say. Just a thought, but may be the Police are happy for people to believe it is, which makes it more likely they will make mistakes and hopefully be caught. The Police really do the best they can to stop this sort of sick crime. This new unit will certainly help. I don't envy the officers who have to do it day in day out though. I would have steam coming out of my ears and reaching for a gun to dish out justice. This POLIT looks like a local version of CEOP which covers the Country, as well as working closely with Police abroad. We all know that computer geeks will come out with a way to block this or that, but that in itself shouldn't be a reason to stop trying to catch them. ShuttleX
  • Score: 0

6:22pm Fri 2 May 14

Adrian XX says...

Tor is not untraceable, no matter what Firefox say. Just a thought, but may be the Police are happy for people to believe it is, which makes it more likely they will make mistakes and hopefully be caught.

Tor is primarily funded by the United States state department, it is not developed by "firefox". Government security agencies such as the NSA and GCHQ have had almost no success at de-anonymising tor users so there is ZERO chance the police can do it. It would appear that documents released by Edward Snowden show that the only success they have had is when users have vulnerable software on their computers. If the computers are patched quickly then TOR is almost completely anonymous.

One Snowden document states "We will never be able to de-anonymize all Tor users all the time." It continues: "With manual analysis we can de-anonymize a very small fraction of Tor users... We have had no success de-anonymizing a user in response to a specific request."

I got this from an article in The Guardian: http://bit.ly/1cjtls
f
[quote]Tor is not untraceable, no matter what Firefox say. Just a thought, but may be the Police are happy for people to believe it is, which makes it more likely they will make mistakes and hopefully be caught.[/quote] Tor is primarily funded by the United States state department, it is not developed by "firefox". Government security agencies such as the NSA and GCHQ have had almost no success at de-anonymising tor users so there is ZERO chance the police can do it. It would appear that documents released by Edward Snowden show that the only success they have had is when users have vulnerable software on their computers. If the computers are patched quickly then TOR is almost completely anonymous. One Snowden document states "We will never be able to de-anonymize all Tor users all the time." It continues: "With manual analysis we can de-anonymize a very small fraction of Tor users... We have had no success de-anonymizing a user in response to a specific request." I got this from an article in The Guardian: http://bit.ly/1cjtls f Adrian XX
  • Score: 1

8:38pm Fri 2 May 14

silkcut says...

This is utter spin and garbage by a hick policeman trying to make himself look effective by addressing the "concerns" highlighted by a spurious poll he's conducted, that was undoubtedly rigged to give the result he wanted anyway, so as to justify him sitting in front of a computer screen looking at **** rather than catching real criminals.

Is somebody sat at home on the 'net looking at **** the "biggest concern" of the public?

Of course it's not. But that's the only people they're busting because it's easy. If they get any dubious excuse to forensically examine someones 'puter then they'll do so with relish, and if they find any deleted picture amongst thousands that they recover that they say is underage (not pedophiliac) then they'll drag them to Court to make themselves look good, whilst all the genuine child abusers continue to get away with it...

It's a con trick...Don't fall for their spin if you're genuinely concerned about protecting children. But if you're not, and just feel the need to get hysterical about something and have a bogeyman under your bed, then swallow every word of Mr. Naughton..

Just my 2 cents
This is utter spin and garbage by a hick policeman trying to make himself look effective by addressing the "concerns" highlighted by a spurious poll he's conducted, that was undoubtedly rigged to give the result he wanted anyway, so as to justify him sitting in front of a computer screen looking at **** rather than catching real criminals. Is somebody sat at home on the 'net looking at **** the "biggest concern" of the public? Of course it's not. But that's the only people they're busting because it's easy. If they get any dubious excuse to forensically examine someones 'puter then they'll do so with relish, and if they find any deleted picture amongst thousands that they recover that they say is underage (not pedophiliac) then they'll drag them to Court to make themselves look good, whilst all the genuine child abusers continue to get away with it... It's a con trick...Don't fall for their spin if you're genuinely concerned about protecting children. But if you're not, and just feel the need to get hysterical about something and have a bogeyman under your bed, then swallow every word of Mr. Naughton.. Just my 2 cents silkcut
  • Score: 5

12:48am Sat 3 May 14

Sir Beachy Head says...

Thanks everyone.

Tor now installed

www.torproject.org
Thanks everyone. Tor now installed www.torproject.org Sir Beachy Head
  • Score: 4

1:39pm Thu 8 May 14

keith milton says...

more and more people are being arrested,sectioned and forcibly medicated for reporting institutional paedophilia,

so be aware and make sure you have people you know,with you,

when dealing with the police on this subject.

google robert green.
more and more people are being arrested,sectioned and forcibly medicated for reporting institutional paedophilia, so be aware and make sure you have people you know,with you, when dealing with the police on this subject. google robert green. keith milton
  • Score: 0

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