Former officer convicted of viewing child pornography
A former Kent police officer has been convicted after admitting to viewing child abuse material online while still being used by force.
October 7, 2021
By Tony Thompson
Thomas Blant, 38, was arrested in January 2020 after National Crime Agency (NCA) investigators identified that a website hosting child sexual abuse material was accessed via TOR (The Onion Router ) from his home in Wye, Ashford.
Following a search of his address, officers seized a number of digital devices, including his phone and laptop, which were subjected to forensic analysis.
TOR, the tool that offers anonymous online browsing and dark web access, had been downloaded to the laptop, along with a computer cleaner application, which can be used to remove traces of illegal activity.
Seventeen Indecent Pictures of Children (IIOC), consisting of categories A and C, were recovered from Blant’s laptop, despite his attempts to remove them.
Four more indecent images of children were also picked up from one of Blant’s old cell phones.
He was released on bail and arrested again in February 2020 after analyzing his devices.
Blant was working as a constable for Kent Police at the time of his offense. He was suspended from his post when he was first arrested and has since been dismissed from his post.
At Maidstone Crown Court on October 6, he was given a 12-month prison sentence with a two-year conditional sentence, a five-year sexual harm prevention order and on the sex offender registry for ten years.
Martin Ludlow of the NCA said: “Blant’s offense is a scandalous breach of trust. His role as a police officer was to protect the public. Instead, he researched child abuse images for his own sexual satisfaction. Offenders who view such content online only encourage those who are willing to sexually abuse children in the real world.
“The fight against this threat remains one of the ANC’s highest priorities. We are committed to targeting the most dangerous offenders and those like Blant who go to great lengths to hide their activity, believing they can operate with impunity online.
“As this survey shows, there is nowhere to hide. We will use all the tools at our disposal to identify those who pose a sexual threat to children and ensure that they are brought to justice. “
Detective Chief Superintendent Jon Armory, Kent Police Professional Standards Officer, said: “It is heinous that Blant has committed these offenses, especially while working as a police officer.
“His actions have helped fuel demand for the exploitation of children, which is a total betrayal of his duty to protect vulnerable people. Blant was suspended from our forces as soon as the allegations were first received and we fully supported our colleagues in the NCA in their criminal investigation. As soon as he admitted the facts in court, we moved forward with a special procedure which ended in his dismissal on August 17.
“The vast majority of our officers and staff do exceptional work serving the public in accordance with the highest standards of professionalism and conduct, and we expect no less from them. Those who fail will come under scrutiny. “