Greater Manchester Police officer jailed for child sex abuse offences – BBC News


A police officer who was caught trying to arrange the abuse of an eight-year-old girl and accessed indecent images of a vulnerable teen has been jailed.
Det Con Lee Cunliffe admitted seven offences including arranging the commission of a child sex offence.
The 40-year-old Greater Manchester Police (GMP) officer has been suspended from duty since his arrest in 2020.
Cunliffe, of Wigan, was jailed at Liverpool Crown Court for eight years and four months.
The court heard Cunliffe had been a serving officer for 17 years when, in September 2020, he began messaging a woman whom he believed was the mother of the eight-year-old girl on instant messaging app Kik.
Prosecutor Arthur Gibson said Cunliffe told the woman, who was actually an undercover Met Police officer, that he would visit London to sexually abuse her daughter.
Police investigations revealed Cunliffe had sent the messages from several devices, including a police-owned computer at Swinton police station, and he was arrested in October 2020.
A subsequent search of the married father's home revealed a laptop he had used to access indecent images of children, including of a "plainly vulnerable" teenage girl who made a complaint to GMP in 2018.
Mr Gibson said the girl had alleged her boyfriend had taken indecent images of her and distributed them without her knowledge.
Cunliffe, then a trainee detective, was allocated to the case and the suspect's computer and phone were seized after his arrest.
Mr Gibson said he later wrote an entry on the crime log stating there was nothing on either device relating to the offence, when "in fact, both devices contained both still and moving indecent images of children, a total of 227 being accessible".
The computer was returned to the suspect with the indecent images still on and no further action was taken.
Evidence of files from between 2014 and 2018 which were indicative of child abuse were also found on Cunliffe's laptop.
Julian King, defending, said Cunliffe had been going to see a psychotherapist, who said he had compulsive sexual behaviour disorder.
Cunliffe, of Hindley Green, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to arranging the commission of a child sex offence, perverting the course of justice, misconduct in a public office, distributing indecent photos of a child, and three counts of making indecent photos.
Sentencing him, Recorder of Liverpool, Judge Andrew Menary QC, said the actions Cunliffe was "contemplating with this very young child could hardly have been more serious".
"What you did in relation to this girl and this case is shocking and strikes at the very heart of that foundation of trust that the public have invested in the police service," he added.
Speaking after sentencing, Deputy Chief Constable Terry Woods of GMP, said Cunliffe's "deplorable behaviour" was "absolutely inexcusable" and had "undermined the very essence of policing's core value of protecting the public and helping those in need".
Det Insp Suzanne Keenaghan, from GMP's online child abuse investigation team, described his offending as "depraved".
"Cunliffe deliberately created an online profile with the perverted intention of arranging to commit a child sex offence and having indecent images in his possession for his own sexual gratification," she said.
He will now face disciplinary action under the Police Conduct Regulations, GMP added.
Child protection charity, the NSPCC, said: "Cunliffe's actions were an appalling abuse of his position of trust.
"Through his police training and employment, Cunliffe would have been very aware of the devastation sexual abuse has on children's lives.
"Despite this, he chose to pursue his own perverted desires."
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