A former Greater Manchester Police officer has been sentenced after admitting possessing an indecent video of children.
Lee Ashcroft (12/06/1983) pleaded guilty to making an indecent photograph/pseudo-photograph of a child.
He was sentenced to 10 months in prison, suspended for two years, at Liverpool Crown Court today (19 December 2022).
Ashcroft was given a 30-day rehabilitation order and a 10-year sexual harm prevention order, and ordered to sign the sex offenders register for 10 years.
He was also ordered to carry out a 12-month community order with 120 hours of unpaid work.
Ashcroft, who was a PC in GMP’s Special Operations, had been due to stand trial but entered a guilty plea at Liverpool Crown Court on 24 October 2022 having resigned from the force three days earlier.
He was arrested on 12 October 2020 on suspicion of possession of indecent Images of children after officers carried out a warrant at his home.
A number of items were seized including his mobile phone and a laptop computer found under a bed.
Ashcroft admitted accessing the dark web to visit coding forums and transferring money to an unknown person for advice on selling cryptocurrency.
However, when the computer was examined, forensic officers found a video of children engaging in sexual activity lasting almost eight minutes.
It was also established that Ashcroft owned the computer and that the video had been accessed.
Detective Inspector Suzanne Keenaghan, of GMP’s Online Child Abuse Investigation Team, said: “We expect our officers and staff to uphold the highest standards and Ashcroft’s behaviour fell well below what is expected.
“We will not stand for this behaviour and we are prepared to take robust action whenever any offending comes to light – whether by proactively identifying it ourselves or responding to reports made to us.
“Ashcroft’s actions were inexcusable and have undermined the very essence of policing’s core value of protecting the public and helping those in need.
“This kind of offending and abuse is depraved and sends a firm warning to those who feel that they can commit these offences from behind a computer screen – we will do all in our power to identify you and bring you to justice.
“I would encourage anyone affected by this case to contact police, or our partners, to report any abuse or exploitation so that the relevant authorities can act on it.
“I would also encourage our officers and staff to report any actions that are illegal or breach our professional standards.”