October 2016

Retired detective convicted of downloading indecent images of children will not lose his police pension

A RETIRED detective convicted of downloading indecent images of children will not lose his police pension, Gwent’s police and crime commissioner has said.

Shaun Ballinger, aged 48, of Glassworks Cottages, Newport, was sentenced at Cardiff Crown Court on September 1, of this year, charged with three counts of making indecent images of children.

The former detective constable pleaded guilty to the charges. The court heard Ballinger was still serving with Gwent Police when the indecent images were downloaded on his computer.

He served for 28 years retiring in July of this year but was not ‘active’ four months prior to the images being found due to ill health.

Police and Crime Commissioners have the power to determine if a police pension should be forfeited in whole or in part, permanently or temporarily, if an officer has been convicted of an offence committed in connection with their service as a member of a police force or an offence liable to lead to serious loss of confidence in the public service.

But Gwent’s PCC Jeff Cuthbert, who under under regulation K5 of the Police Pensions Regulations Act, can forfeit pensions said Ballinger’s case doesn’t meet the criteria.

He said: “I have read all the relevant material relating to this case, including the transcript of the Judge’s sentencing remarks. I have also taken advice from our legal team.

“Based on the criteria stipulated in the legislation regarding the forfeiture of police pensions and the sentencing remarks of the Judge, I conclude that there are no grounds for me to forfeit the pension of Shaun Ballinger.”

In June, of this year, police found 36 indecent images of children on an Acer laptop in Ballinger’s home. They found nine category A videos – the most serious, 16 category B videos and 11 category C images.

The court heard, all of the images were of girls aged between six and 12-years-old. Police also found 129 images some of which were indecent but of poor quality.

Judge Geraint Walters last month gave Ballinger a three year community order with requirements to attend a sexual offender’s treatment programme.

Mr Cuthbert added: “Sexual exploitation is a danger to all children and that is why preventing crimes of this nature and protecting our children from serious harm is such an important focus for me in developing my police and crime plan for Gwent. You can rest assured that all reports relating to child sexual exploitation will be taken seriously by Gwent Police and will be thoroughly investigated.

“I will continue to support the force in utilising and investing in the latest technology so it can pursue and arrest those who prey on our children online with the aim of bringing those who exploit them to justice.”

July 2016

Former police officer says his ‘morbid interest’ in possessing indecent images of children developed through his job

A former police officer has pleaded guilty to possessing indecent images of children.

Shaun Ballinger, 48, of Glassworks Cottages, Newport, admitted having nine category A images, 16 category B images and 11 category C images at Cardiff Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

Category A is the most serious.

Prosecutor Simon Clements said Ballinger, who had been a detective constable, was still a serving officer with Gwent Police when the images were downloaded on his computer.

The 36 pictures were found on his PC when his home was searched by police on June 28 this year.

Initially Ballinger denied any knowledge of the images, saying he had no interest in such images.

“He said he was unsure if anyone else had access to the router,” Mr Clements said.

Police also discovered file cleaning software on his computer.

“That had been run across the computer on at least four occasions,” Mr Clements said.

Attending the police station on July 1, Ballinger admitted the images were his and claimed the majority of images he had used was of adults.

The court heard Ballinger told police in interview: “I was exposed to images at work and developed a morbid interest.”

The detective constable left Gwent Police when he retired on medical grounds after more than 28 years service.

Representing himself, Ballinger told the court he “had an interest in these matters for a short period.”

He said there had been “no further downloads of that type.”

“I have moved on from that morbid interest but it does not justify what I did do,” he said.

He said he was “thoroughly ashamed” and had been trying “to save my marriage.”

“I am not a coward and have to accept what I did,” Ballinger told the court.

“I ask you, if you could possibly deal with me here, I feel that would assist me so I can get on with other aspects of my life.”

The magistrates declined and sent the matter to Cardiff Crown Court .

Ballinger is due to be sentenced on August 9.

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