(Black Press file photo)

West Shore RCMP undertaking three more child porn investigations

Two individuals arrested in connection with investigations

West Shore RCMP are undertaking three more child porn investigations in the West Shore, bringing the number of investigations up from 17 to 20.

“As of Feb. 12, 2019, we have received further information from the BC RCMP Integrated Child Exploitation unit (BC ICE), which has lead us to open an additional three investigations into child pornography related offences,” said Sgt. Chris Boucher of the West Shore RCMP General Investigation Section. “These investigations are tough, time-consuming and exhaustive. I’m proud of the work my team is doing.”

According to West Shore RCMP Const. Nancy Saggar, the investigations have been going on for just over a year since Jan. 2018. They involve varying offences in the child porn category like someone owning a computer or mobile device that has images of child pornography on it or producing child pornography.

Saggar said when it comes to the offence of producing child pornography, that does not necessarily mean a child was abused. She said police are finding that Photoshop is often used to alter existing images.

“Our General Investigation Section has been working diligently through these investigations. In the last month they have executed three search warrants for three separate child pornography related offences,” Saggar said.

Saggar said two individuals have been arrested in connection with the investigations for child pornography related offences. They were later released by police with extensive conditions.

The names of the individuals will not be released, Saggar said, and police do not have any indication of direct or active child abuse.

READ MORE: West Shore RCMP undertaking 17 child porn investigations

Saggar said the investigations are still ongoing and that 13 of them are in Langford. Two of the recent investigations are in View Royal.

The number of investigations since Jan. 2018 is a collective number and the investigations are in various stages. Police said some are in the court process and trials have been conducted while others are just starting.

Police said they do not believe the number of investigations being conducted in the West Shore are disproportionate compared to other jurisdictions of a similar size.

The BC ICE unit have assisted West Shore RCMP by providing resources like a technical crime investigator to come over from the BC RCMP headquarters in Surrey on a case-by-case basis. West Shore RCMP have also resourced their own digital investigator of computer exhibits and digital media mobile field technician to assist with the investigations.

Police said the investigations require officers to spend a significant amount of time and resources on them, particularly when it comes to cyber crime where computers and storage devices are seized and have to be sent to a tech crime unit to be analyzed.

READ MORE: B.C. middle school vice-principal charged with child porn offences

Saggar said parents should open up dialogue with their children about the topic and make sure they are comfortable going to their parents if they feel uncomfortable. She said parents should monitor what their children are doing online as well and should have an online safety talk with them.

“Public safety is always number one for us. Investigators will always establish if there is a threat to the public/person(s) before continuing on gathering evidence,” a West Shore RCMP media release said. “Investigating these types of offences are a top priority for us and those who engage in child pornography and abuse should be aware that we will be aggressive and relentless in our pursuit of you.”

shalu.mehta@goldstreamgazette.com


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