A POLICE officer found in possession of child sex abuse footage has been told he ‘should be deeply ashamed’ after suffering ‘spectacular disgrace’.
Benjamin Allen, 30, was arrested after police acted on indecent intelligence images of children had been viewed at his home in Colchester.
Ipswich Crown Court heard police search his bedroom after executing a search warrant in August last year.
Three devices were seized from the accused, who was a serving officer with Essex Police at the time.
Through a computer, a mini-disc and Allen’s cell phone, police found four still images and two moving images indecent to the most serious category A.
Two still Category B images and 113 Category C images were also found.
Allen, of Ipswich Road, Colchester, admitted five counts of possessing indecent images of children after initially denying the charges.
Prosecuting Isobel Ascherson said: “While many images may have been viewed by the defendant before he was a serving officer for Essex Police, it is clear that a number were created after that he became a police officer.”
The court heard that a Category A image found on Allen’s devices involved the rape of a six-year-old child.
Shade Abiodun, mitigating, said Allen “struggled to provide an explanation” for how the footage ended up on his devices.
She said: “He would certainly say that these weren’t images he looked at regularly or intentionally researched online.
“Nothing in the prosecution documents suggests the relevant search terms one would expect due to the nature of the images found on the devices.”
Ms Abiodun said Allen claimed he “had no sexual interest” in the children.
“The most important thing for him is what he lost,” she said.
“He was a police officer, his relationship is now over, due to his conviction his access to his young daughter is limited.”
She said Allen “had only himself to blame”, but added that her client was remorseful, after the “embarrassment and shame” he had brought to his loved ones.
“He did his best to pick up the pieces of what remains of his life,” she added.
Judge Emma Peters said: “Let’s be clear. The courts deal too regularly with those who possess such images.
“You will know because you were a police officer for a while.
“The problem with these images, whether they are still images or films, is that they involve child abuse and therefore those who view these images are fueling this abuse.
“We have a video here that is particularly disturbing, of a six-year-old girl, tied to a bed, being raped.
“Just imagine how this child’s life could possibly recover after suffering this abuse.
“You were a police officer and in an age when the public looks up to the police, expects them to display high standards and rightly criticizes them when they don’t, finding a police officer on the bench defendants charged with such offenses will no doubt trouble them.
“It’s something you should be deeply ashamed of.”
She added: “You rightly lost that career and you lost that good reputation.
“You lost your family, your partner, they just naturally thought they didn’t want to be with you anymore… You suffered a spectacular disgrace, but those who possess such images must be treated seriously, this is not is that thus it will end.”
Judge Peters said most of the footage dated back to before he joined the force, with a small number of Category C images viewed after he joined the force.
She said it looked like Allen “came to this world” after “almost becoming addicted” to adult porn, before “moving on”.
The judge concluded that the defendant had committed no prior offense and had shown remorse, there was “room for rehabilitation”.
Allen was sentenced to ten months in prison, suspended for two years, with conditions to complete a 40-day rehabilitation activity requirement and 140 hours of unpaid work.
He was ordered into a program designed for sex offenders, placed on the sex offender registry for ten years and ordered to comply with a ten-year sexual abuse prevention order.
“His behavior undermined our core values”
Essex Police confirmed an expedited misconduct hearing took place in early September.
An allegation of gross misconduct was proven, and the hearing concluded that Allen would have been fired had he not already resigned.
He was also added to the College of Policing’s banned list.
Police Chief Harrington said: “The public expects the highest standards from any police family.
“Putting such a blatant risk on the people we are here to protect is not and will never be acceptable.
“Our job is to protect the most vulnerable members of our communities, and without a doubt, this officer’s behavior has undermined our core values.
“We will continue to root out any officer who behaves in the same way.”