South Wales Police Crest

South Wales Police

quick exit

Operation Net Safe – Tackling online child sexual abuse and exploitation

Op Net Safe banner graphic

As part of our commitment to keep children safe, we have developed Operation Net Safe which targets people who are creating, viewing and sharing sexually explicit images of young people under the age of 18 online.

Operation Net Safe is a Wales wide campaign with specialist teams from South Wales Police, Gwent Police, Dyfed Powys Police and North Wales Police working together with partner agencies to deal with and reduce the threat, risk and harm posed by online child sexual exploitation and abuse.

This operation meets the objectives of our South Wales Police and Crime Reduction Plan 2016/21 and our priority to ‘work to protect the most vulnerable in our communities’, and the All-Wales National Action Plan to Tackle Child Sexual Exploitation.

As part of this operation, we are working closely with child protection charity the Lucy Faithfull Foundation, whose Stop it Now! Campaign directs offenders, potential offenders, and their concerned loved ones to a confidential and anonymous helpline, and self-help resources to enable them to proactively address their behaviour.

Find out more about Operation Net Safe in the film below:

South Wales Police Assistant Chief Constable Jon Drake, All Wales Lead for Child Sexual Exploitation:

“I want those in possession of, and sharing images of child abuse online, to really think about their actions. Often offenders can convince themselves that there isn’t a victim because the images already exist online and they don’t have direct contact with the young people involved. But those children were abused and exploited to make those images. Child sexual abuse is a crime. And so is possessing images of that abuse.”

Operation Net Safe aims to safeguard children by detecting abuse and prosecuting offenders for the possession and distribution of sexually explicit images of anyone under the age of 18 online.

Operation Net Safe brings together police officers and highly skilled digital forensics staff to proactively seek out those using the internet to view and exchange these images in Wales.

Specialist, dedicated teams use the latest digital investigative techniques to identify where in Wales illegal images are being viewed, before using the intelligence to apply to a magistrate for a search warrant to allow the police and digital forensic experts to raid a home, seize evidence and, where appropriate, arrest those involved.

Mobile-based technology enables us to set up a digital forensics laboratory in the home of the suspect and examine computers, mobiles, tables and data storage devices within minutes.

We will keep you informed of the progress and success of Operation Net Safe by publishing case studies and posting updates on social media – follow #OperationNetSafe

#WhoIsSam

…..and why do parents need to know about people like him? Find out more about a new NCA and PoliceChiefs Council campaign highlighting the risks children face when using live streaming platforms:

Case Studies

Daniel McGowan

On Monday 17th October 2016 officers from South Wales Police On-line Investigation Team visited an address in Treorchy and subsequently arrested Daniel McGowan. They searched and located a mobile phone in his bedroom, and found indecent images and videos of children on this device.

Daniel McGowan appeared before Merthyr Crown Court in December 2016 where he was sentenced to a three years custodial sentence for the possession of indecent photographs of children and for distributing indecent photographs of children.

Scott Nicholls

Scott Nicholls travelled from Taunton to a hotel in Wales believing he was meeting a 12 year old girl for sex. He had been identified by police in an online teenage chat room. He pleaded guilty  at Cardiff Crown Court in November 2015 and was sentenced to six years imprisonment, with an extended four year licence and 10 year Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO)

Malcolm Blount

In 2015 Malcolm Blount was dealt with for the possession of child abuse images. The police investigation however went onto find he was also threatening vulnerable children online, and blackmailing them into sending sexually explicit pictures of themselves to him (sextortion).

South Wales Police implemented safeguarding measures for each of the vulnerable girls in question, and we were able to identify a registered sex offender from the Hampshire area who he was  sharing indecent images of children with, and who was using the online profile of a 12 year old girl to mask his true identity.

Blount pleaded guilty at Cardiff Crown Court and was sentenced to two years imprisonment and a 10 year Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

Get Support

Stop it now! is a child sexual abuse prevention campaign run by the Lucy Faithfull Foundation.

Stop it now! has a wide range of resources and information for individuals concerned about their behaviour; for family or friends worried about the behaviour of someone they know and; for professionals seeking advice.

Are you:
Concerned about your behaviour?
Concerned about another adult’s behaviour?

Talk to the Stop it Now! team –  Freephone Helpline 0808 1000 900 – available from 9.00am – 9.00pm Mondays to Thursdays and from 9.00am – 5.00pm Fridays for confidential advice.

Alternatively you can email help@stopitnow.org.uk a confidential correspondence service. The Lucy Faithfull Foundation aim to respond to all emails within 3-5 working days.

The Stop it Now! film below aim to deter people from viewing indecent images of children online:

The Stop it Now! film shown here talks you through the five steps you can take if you have concerns that someone you know may be accessing sexually explicit images of young people under the age of 18 online:

Report it

Call the police non-emergency telephone number – 101 or dial 999 if you or someone you know is in immediate danger.

Alternatively you can report this crime anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org