Police officers who arrested a former colleague for possessing child abuse images say that demand for indecent images fuels abuse and misery for vulnerable youngsters.
With former policeman Peter Whitehouse beginning a three-year prison sentence for downloading more than 1,500 indecent child abuse images – including some images of extreme abuse and rape of children as young as nine – the police say that they will continue to bring people like him to justice.
Whitehouse was a police officer for 31 years – the Royal Court heard on Friday that he started downloading the images while still a serving policeman, and later when working for “Prison? Me? No Way!”, a charity that educates young people about the consequences of crime.
There is no suggestion that Whitehouse abused children himself – either though his roles with the charity, the police, or with the Sea Cadets or the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, for which he also volunteered.
Acting Detective Chief Inspector Mark Hafey said: “The downloading of indecent images of children is not a victimless crime. Victims are abused in order to create the images.
“People who download these images are increasing the demand which clearly leads to further abuse. We will pursue and deal robustly, without fear or favour, those who sexually exploit and abuse children, whether this be through possession of indecent images of children or those who contact offend.
“As long as offenders, like Whitehouse, are prepared to download these images, a market exists for the perpetuation of all that misery.
“There is a multi-agency approach to protecting children in Jersey and we hope that the Whitehouse case sends a strong message to offenders that downloading indecent images of children encourages and supports this vile child abuse.
“The internet is not a safe, anonymous space for accessing images like these. They leave a digital footprint which we will find and bring those offenders to justice.”
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