Monday, 21 February 2005 - 2:00pm |
National News

Police crack down on international child abuse and pornography

2 min read

Police made 19 arrests, released 22 people on summons and seized 113 computers over the last two days in a national operation to combat the publication and distribution of pornography portraying child abuse.

Detective Inspector Bernie Hollewand, O/C of Operation Tercel said the operation is part of an international campaign to crackdown on child abuse and pornography.

Police executed 48 search warrants across the country from Invercargill to Auckland. A total of 45 people were interviewed, ranging from those with previous sexual abuse and criminal sexual behaviour offending and to those employed in occupations such as I&T, coaching and school teaching. In one case a person was found to have 25 computers and hard drives.

The operation involved 14 teams of Police, Department of Internal Affairs and Customs staff – 101 people.

"This has been an inter-agency operation in New Zealand with Police, Customs and Department of Internal Affairs acting on information received from overseas law enforcement agencies," said Mr Hollewand.

"However, there is nothing unique about this operation. Department of Internal Affairs routinely investigate and prosecute people for possession of objectionable material. Where Internal Affairs finds evidence of child abuse, the matter is reported to Police for investigation and prosecution. And Customs of course intercept the importation of such material at the border. So this type of action against pornographic and child abuse material is ongoing."

Mr Hollewand said the operation has been in the planning stages for some time with the focus on thoroughly checking information to ensure that action taken would be sustainable in the justice process.

"Being a national operation, the planning, resourcing, and timing of it is critical to achieving its objectives and creating an impact on this insidious type of criminal activity."

Combating crime against children over the internet requires a whole-community approach. Agencies have been working with Government regulators, the Internet industry, financial institutions, academics and child protection services to share information and responsibility for tackling crimes using internet technologies.

"Internet safety starts at home - parents and supervisors of children need to educate themselves and children on how to protect themselves from exploitation online," said Mr Hollewand.

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