Sexting crimes increase, police unit reforms

| 21/06/2022 | 15 Comments

(CNS): The RCIPS is facing a rapid increase in crimes committed on technology platforms that can have a “devastating impact” on the victims. In a recent media roundtable, senior officers and a specialist police policy adviser explained that the RCIPS had reformed the Family Support Unit to deal with vulnerable groups and the changing criminal landscape. This includes sex offences committed online, such as sexting and sextortion linked to indecent images shared on social media.

The RCIPS has created a Protective Services Unit that will be focused on new types of offending and more vulnerable victims, such as the elderly and disabled as well as young people who are online and therefore exposed to the evolution of modern technology-based crimes.

Simon Mason, a senior police adviser with a specialist background in protecting children, told the press that the goal of forming the new protective services was to help determine which specialists are needed as police deal with more complex safeguarding issues in a changing world.

Mason explained that the new unit will cover a broad range of offenders and victims and will take a proactive prevention-led approach, as he explained the type of crimes police are dealing with due to the technology as well as increased awareness of specific vulnerable groups. The growing awareness of the need to protect people from gender violence and violence caused by prejudice, as well as the new digital challenges that are emerging, are changing the face of policing.

He said the current generation of teenagers is the first to grow up with social media and the widespread use of smartphones. As a result, it is not uncommon for them to share naked or sexual images of each other when they are in a relationship. But when that breaks down and one of them shares those images with friends on social media, the consequences for the victim are almost unbearable.

“The devastation that has on victims, the way that plays out on victims is quite off the scale,” Mason said. Explaining the balance that the police try to achieve, he said, “Do we want to criminalise a whole section of society of young people… or is that a symptom of the circumstance of contemporary modern-day internet use?”

The police can seize and analyse the phone being used and deal with that, he said, but defining the offence is difficult when it’s between two teens, and the goal of the new unit is to step into these situations and prevent further harm and avoid prosecutions of possible.

Mason said that if the victim is under 16, the one sending the image can be prosecuted under the child pornography legislation and face significant jail time. However, he queried if that was the solution because preventing it from happening in the first place is far better.

Further complicating matters, as noted in a recent press release, the RCIPS is seeing a specific increase in “sextortion”, which relates to the practice of trying to extort money or sexual favours from someone by threatening to reveal evidence of their sexual behaviour or circulating nude images.

In some cases, strangers have manipulated people into sending images. They then threaten to release them to the victim’s family, work colleagues or contacts on social media and demand payment in exchange for not sharing the images.

The RCIPS said people should “never share indecent images” of themselves online. “Once these images are released, they are out of your control and can be freely shared on the internet,” officers have warned.

Adults, teens and even children can be victims of sextortion, but kids online are especially vulnerable to sex offenders and the evolving ways they seek to groom them. The police encouraged parents to educate themselves about their children’s online behaviour, as sex offenders use a variety of ways to manipulate children using online video games and many other avenues.

The internet poses risks that parents are often completely unaware of, and in the modern environment, it is critical that parents understand how their children can become victims to strangers online as well as much closer to home.

Anyone who finds themselves a victim of digital crime should not pay a ransom. They should delete all accounts that are linked to the perpetrators and contact the police at RCIPSDFH@rcips.ky


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Category: Crime, Crime Prevention, Police

Comments (15)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Call me old fashioned, but why not just turn your phone or computer off. Why don’t people try the old methods of talking to somebody – which is a tad rich coming from the guy typing comments in an online chat forum!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    “The goal of forming the new protective services was to help determine which specialists are needed”…like the still theoretical Traffic Unit, white collar investigation personnel, or anti-corruption squad. This current generation of teens isn’t the first to have phones with cameras. RCIPS is 20 years blind to reality if they think that’s true.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hard to imagine the RCIPS voluntarily seeking new ways to suck, in addition to not doing their jobs, or enforcing all the laws that already exist. Hitting rock bottom and digging!

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  4. Anonymous says:

    What is a sexting crime?

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Family matter!

    Well done gents.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I’m 28 and new to the island.. been trying to meet new people mostly through online means. A 17 year old added me and started flirting with me online.. I thought the age gap was too much so I rejected, but then she escalated to sending me nudes and asking me to come over while her parents were out.. what is it with teen girls these days chasing grown men?

    Her parents are apparently very strict and didn’t allow her a phone until then. I really don’t think there’s much you can do besides hope, but I’m not a parent. Be too strict and they’ll wild out the second they get freedom. Be too nice and they won’t respect your authority.

    Seems like a common thing here in Cayman outside of my experience. My coworker is 26 and is dating a girl that just turned 18. Is this really normal and accepted here?

    All in all, it makes me terrified of having a having a kid (girl in particular) if this is how they act.

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    • Anonymous says:

      So while young girls are dating older… yours is most def an older man trying to get nudes to extort you.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I think the question is also why do many (not all) grown men allow and accept and entertain the offers from young/teen girls?

      I think the stigma of always projecting blame onto the TEEN in the situation is quite dangerous. Teens have many internal battles and fold to pressure of society etc, im sure we all remember how its like to be a teen and in todays day online is worse than it was when we were teens. and I say this as a 30 year old.

      To say you are terrified of having a girl is a shame. You should be terrified of the grown men that take advantage of the teens, who, i agree are in the wrong as well in the situation and should be dealt with accordingly. I think its very irresponsible of you to forget that this will always take two people. Congrats to you and well done i guess for you not participating but in reply to your coworker and people like that, you should fault the coworker way more the than teen in this situation.

      Im sorry you are terrified of girls in particular instead of seeing the real problem here; this is the true shame.
      It’s sad that females are always subject to being the sole one at fault and “blamed” when its a shared fault weighted more on the adult always because they SHOULD KNOW BETTER BEING THE ADULT but no one talks about it correctly.
      ….people need to see and accept the truth and be honest when referring to it but i guess this is why we will never begin to see change and boys/men will forever feel wrongfully superior, thus continuing this dangerous trend.

      anyways though…

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      • Anonymous says:

        We call ourselves a Christian place where temptation is sourced from the greatest enemy of all.

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        • Anonymous says:

          grow up
          the blame of christan values and lifestyle is a cop out. be an adult you know right from wrong

          this crutch of christianity and temptation is stupid. If you as an adult sexually engage with a child/teen in any way YOU are at fault not christianity and the devil. thats a loaf of BS.

          just making excuses so that you can continue with disgusting mindsets.

      • Anonymous says:

        the one downvote on this is OBVIOUSLY a child molester. how can you disagree with this..

      • Anon says:

        What about senior Police officers dating these teen girls look into that, they are children bunch of perverted pediphiles.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, it’s the norm in all developing country’s including cayman

  7. Anonymous says:

    So what happened to the MASH unit? Is this replacing it or duplicating it?

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  8. Anonymous says:

    An interesting take on invasion of privacy: Netflix’s, “Intimacy”(European).
    If you’re looking for a series that has a realistic take on invasion of privacy and how that impacts someone and everybody around them then look no further.

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