Incitement to engage in sexual activity with a child under 13?

UK Child Abuse Inquiry

Monday, 17 November 2014

Incitement to engage in sexual activity with a child under 13?

The recent report by the Mail on Sunday,
The letter from a five-year-old rape victim that shames every police officer: Family’s agony as 12-year-old rapist is let off with caution and told: ‘Do it with someone your own age next time’
raises many serious issues about the actions of Essex Police with respect to the rape of a 5 year old girl.

One aspect which seems to have escaped attention is the significance of an Essex Police officer reportedly telling a 12 year old boy to “Do it with someone your own age next time”.

It is, as I understand the Law, an offence to “incite … a person to engage in sexual activity with a child under 13”.

If the media reports are accurate an Essex Police officer, Detective Constable Paul Alabaster, has, on the face of it, committed a criminal offence.

Accordingly I have written today to Chief Constable Steven Kavanagh to ask him to carefully consider DC Alabaster’s conduct, particularly with respect to whether or not a criminal offence has been committed.

The text of my letter is below:


18th November 2014

To:
Chief Constable Steven Kavanagh, Essex Police
Dear Chief Constable,

Detective Constable Paul Alabaster
Incitement to engage with sexual activity with a child under 13?

I write to draw to your attention media reports that allege that an Essex Police officer told a 12 year old boy accused of raping a 5 year old child, “Do it with someone your own age next time”.

As the matter was reported in the media the remarks were addressed by an Essex Police Officer, named in media reports as Detective Constable Paul Alabaster, to a 12 year old boy.

It is, as I understand the Law, an offence to incite someone to engage in sexual activity with a child under 13. See, for example, the Crown Proseuction Service guidance here:

In other words, if the media are accurately reporting what the Essex Police officer said, it seems to me that the officer concerned was committing a criminal offence by inciting a 12 year old boy to engage in sexual activity with another 12 year old child.

I ask that you carefully consider this matter, in particular whether the alleged actions of the unnamed officer are such as to amount to misconduct and/or gross misconduct and whether the facts after investigation justify prosecution of the officer for “incitement to engage in sexual activity with a child under 12”.

Given the public interest in matters relating to child sexual abuse I will place a copy of this letter on my UK Child Abuse Inquiry blog:

Yours sincerely

(Dr) Andrew Watt

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