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Child Sexual Exploitation Arrests and Prosecutions in 2014/15 and 2015/16

Question

Q1. How many alleged perpetrators have been arrested by your police authority during each year on offences relating to child sexual exploitation for 2014/15/and 16?

Q2. How many suspected perpetrators are thought to be currently involved in child sexual exploitation within your police authority? 

Q3. I am aware that child sexual exploitation can be statistically difficult to categorize because perpetrators have to be charged with offences relating to different elements of this type of crime. Has your police force introduced a way of recording sexual offences against children that are part of a pattern of sexual exploitation.

Q4. How many prosecutions have taken place within your authority for offences relating to child sexual exploitation during 2014/15/16?

Q5. Of these prosecutions how many related to offences before 2014, and after 2014?

Q6. Of these prosecutions how many related to historic offences dating prior to 2010?

Answer

In relation to questions 1, 4, 5 and 6, due to a current issue with our recording system we are unable to electronically retrieve the number of arrests prior to 24th November 2015. Please see the information for 2016 in the table below:

Year

Arrests

Charges

Prosecutions

2016

86

35

21

In relation to question 6, please see the offence years for the above 21 prosecutions in the table below: 

Offence Years

Count

Before 2010

1

Before 2014

4

2014 onwards

19

Please note that some offences may have been committing over a period of time and may span across more than one year. Therefore they may be counted in more than one category.

In relation to question 2, I can neither confirm nor deny that this information is held by virtue of the following exemptions:

Section 30(3) – Investigations

Section 31(3) – Law enforcement

Section 40(5) – Personal information

Section 40 is a class based, absolute exemption, therefore there is no need to conduct a public interest test. Section 31 is a prejudice based exemption; therefore please see the harm consideration below. Sections 30 and 31 are qualified exemptions and require us to consider the public interest in confirming or denying that the information is held. Please see this below:

Harm considerations for section 31

The police service is charged with enforcing the law, preventing and detecting crime, and protecting the communities we serve. Confirmation or denial that information exists will not be made where the current or future prevention and detection of crime, apprehension and prosecution of offenders or the administration of justice may be hindered as a result. To confirm or deny that the specific information is held could reveal operationally sensitive information.

Public interest considerations

Factors favouring confirming or denying that information is held (Section 30)

Confirming or denying that any information relevant to this part of your request exists, would lead to a better informed public that Avon and Somerset Constabulary robustly investigates offences of child sexual exploitation (CSE) which may encourage individuals to provide intelligence in order to assist investigations and reduce crime. Confirmation or denial would highlight where police resources are being targeted and the public are entitled to know how public funds are spent, particularly in the current economic climate.

Factors favouring confirming or denying that information is held (Section 31)

Confirming or denying that this information exists, would enable the public to see where public funds are being spent and would reassure the public that the constabulary are adequately equipped to tackle this type of crime. Better public awareness would contribute to the accuracy of public debate.

Factors against confirming or denying that information is held (Section 30)

Confirmation or denial that information exists would suggest that Avon and Somerset Constabulary take their responsibility to appropriately handle and manage information provided by individuals to assist with criminal investigations flippantly, resulting in the force’s future law enforcement capabilities being negatively affected.

Factors against confirming or denying that information is held (Section 31)

The police service has a duty to deliver effective law enforcement ensuring the prevention and detection of crime, apprehension or prosecution of offenders and administration of justice is carried out appropriately. To confirm or deny that any information is held could identify when and where operations were taking place and as such law enforcement tactics would be compromised, hindering the prevention and detection of crime. It could also confirm to individuals whether or not their activities have been detected. The resultant effect could be that, more crime could be committed and individuals placed at risk.

Balance test

After weighing up the arguments both for and against neither confirming or denying that the information is held, it is determined that the arguments supporting the stance to neither confirm nor deny that information is held outweigh those favouring confirmation or denial.

In relation to question 3, a flag is available to be used in order to flag crimes as CSE related. This flag can also be used to identify individuals and link them to CSE offences.

FOI reference: 517/17.

Date of request: 15.04.17.