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Ten additional officers to bolster NSW Police Force targeting of online predators

Monday, 06 September 2021 09:57:22 AM

The NSW Government has announced an additional ten police positions to bolster the work of the NSW Police Force’s specialist unit which targets those who prey on children online.

The announcement of the additional full-time positions to the Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad’s Child Exploitation Internet Unit (CEIU) coincides with National Child Protection Week – which aims to make sure every family and community has what kids need to thrive and be healthy.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services, David Elliott, said the additional ten positions will increase the Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad’s capacity to protect children online.

“These new officers are part of a $583 million investment by the NSW Government, to add 1500 additional police over four years,” Mr Elliott said.

“A pivotal team within this squad is Strike Force Trawler which comprises detectives attached to the Child Exploitation Internet Unit (CEIU).

“These officers have one of the toughest jobs any police officer is asked to do but the detectives in the Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad are dedicated, focused and deserve our heartfelt thanks and support.

“The NSW Government is committed to supporting investigators in their ongoing fight to identify and bring these online predators before the courts. The additional officers will further enhance their capabilities,” Mr Elliott said.

Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Jayne Doherty, said all parents need to have a conversation with their kids about the dangers they face online.

“The theme of this year’s National Child Protection Week focusses on children deserving a fair go, which starts with providing appropriate support and a safe online environment.”

“Sadly, we’ve seen an increase in predators targeting vulnerable children who are spending additional time at home and online, sometimes unsupervised.

“The best tool to ensure your child’s safety is you. Make sure they know they can tell you about anything that makes them uncomfortable and that any app, game or social media platform where they speak to other people can put them at risk,” Det Supt Doherty said.

Four men were charged with alleged online grooming offences detected across Sydney and the state’s west last month.

They include;

  • In November 2020, detectives began speaking online with a man from Sydney’s south-west. Police will allege in court the man believed he was speaking with a girl aged under 16 years and engaged in sexually explicit conversations with her, as well as sent sexually explicit material. Around 8am on Wednesday 11 August 2021, investigators attached to the Child Exploitation Internet Unit (CEIU) attended a Menangle address and arrested a 36-year-old man. He was taken to Narellan Police station where he was charged with four counts of use carriage service to send indecent material to person under 16. He refused bail and appeared at Picton Local Court Tuesday 24 August 2021, where he was refused bail to reappear at the same court later this month (Tuesday 28 September 2021).

  • In August 2021, investigators from the CEIU began engaging with a man from Sydney’s west. Police will allege in court the man believed he was speaking with a girl aged under 16 years and engaged in sexually explicit conversations, sent explicit materials and made arrangements to meet her. Following inquiries, a 41-year-old man was arrested just after 11.30am at a home in Bidwill last month (Thursday 12 August 2021). He was taken to Mt Druitt Police Station, where he was charged with use carriage service to procure person under 16 for sexual activity, use carriage service to solicit child abuse material, use carriage service to send indecent material to person under 16, and possess prohibited drug. He was refused police bail and appeared at Mt Druitt Local Court Friday 13 August 2021, where he was formally refused bail to reappear at the same court later this year (Wednesday 6 October 2021).

  • In July 2021, detectives began speaking online with a 29-year-old man from Sydney’s south-west. Police allege the man believed he was speaking with a girl aged under 16 years and engaged in sexually explicit conversations about acts he wished to perform with her, before making arrangements to meet with her. Following inquiries, the man was arrested by detectives in Pendle Hill just before 11am last month (Tuesday 17 August 2021). He was taken to Granville Police Station, where he was charged with use carriage service-procure under 16 years for sexual activity, use carriage service to solicit child abuse material, not comply with noticed direction re s 7/8/9 - COVID-19, drive motor vehicle during disqualification period - 2nd + offence, and interlock licence holder -not have approved device installed. The Liverpool man was refused bail and appeared at Parramatta Local Court the following day, where he was formally refused bail to reappear at the same court Thursday 14 October 2021.

  • In June 2021, CEIU detectives began engaging online with a man from the state’s Central West. Police will allege in court that the man believed he was speaking with a mother of a girl aged under 10 years and engaged in sexually explicit conversations about acts he wished to perform on the child, as well as arrangements to meet her. Separately, it is further alleged that in July 2021 the man engaged in sexually explicit conversations with detectives after believing he was speaking with a 13-year-old girl. Following inquiries, a 55-year-old man was arrested by police on Kendal Street, Cowra, about 9am Wednesday 25 August 2021. He was taken to Cowra Police Station and charged with sexual intercourse with child under the age of 10 years, use carriage service to transmit/publish/promote child abuse, and use carriage service to send indecent material to person. The Cowra man was refused bail and appeared at Young Local Court that day, where he was formally refused bail to reappear at Cowra Local Court Wednesday 20 October 2021.

Information and educational packages for parents and children are available from ThinkUKnow, a multi-agency program designed to educate and promote cyber safety: https://www.thinkuknow.org.au/

National Child Protection Week has been running since 1990 starting on Fathers’ Day each September. The aim of the week is to engage all members of the community to ‘Play a Part’ in improving child wellbeing and keep children safe in Australia. The National Association for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN) coordinates National Child Protection Week with support from the federal government and a range of public, private and community partners.

The Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad is comprised of detectives who are specially trained to investigate matters against children and adults, including sexual assault, serious physical abuse, and extreme cases of neglect.

Anyone with concerns about suspected child abuse or exploitation should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au.

Information you provide will be treated in the strictest of confidence. People should not report crime information via our Facebook and Twitter pages.