Plea for tougher sentences to combat paedophiles

A LEADING policeman has called on the courts to get tougher on paedophiles after it was revealed that Lincolnshire officers seized more than five million indecent images of children last year.

That figure was more than three times the number in 2010 and Det Sgt Paul Hutchins argues that harsher sentences may deter the crimes from taking place.

Det Sgt Hutchins (pictured) said: “We often come away quite deflated by sentences given by the court.

“The actual impact of these crimes is just awful. On the end of every image there’s a victim and the destruction that it does. It’s absolutely disgusting.

“You have to have sentences that deter people. Sentencing in Australia and the USA is a lot stronger than ours – people who collect and distribute images can get 20, 30 or even 40 years. It’s astonishing.

“Our primary role is to safeguard children. The rest is with the court and there isn’t a lot any of us can do about it.

“We all know the prisons are overcrowded and they’re not going to build new ones. We know their hands are tied but I would like someone to get 20 years.”

Det Sgt Hutchins has nearly 30 years’ experience investigating major crimes in this county and is in charge of Lincolnshire Police’s Paedophile Online Investigation Team, which was set up in May 2011.