UK police trained to detect ‘pedophile signs’ in tattoos and clothing
UK police officers are being trained to detect specific indicators that may identify someone as a pedophile, with key signs including their clothes, tattoos and books in their homes.
The new child abuse protection method is being introduced to make it easier for officers to catch pedophiles earlier and save children from abuse.
Durham police are the first force in the UK to adopt the new method. Nearly 400 frontline officers have been trained.
Texas police and Dr Joe Sullivan, who worked on the Madeleine McCann case, trained the Durham officers through the Intervene to Protect a Child (IPC) program.
The program examines the behavioral signs of child abusers, and the investigative skills developed from the course will make it easier for officers to read these.
Officers have been taught to analyze specific types of tattoos, art, literature and photographs to spot any components that may indicate someone’s sexual interest in children.
PSCO Adam Grundy, 28, says he put his investigative skills to effect within just two weeks, as he saved a girl under 5 “who was at risk.”
During a routine check, Grundy was alarmed when spotted a condom and a Viagra tablet in an elderly man’s home, who has a history of sex offending.
The PSCO discovered the elderly man was recently visited by a woman with a young child. The man was reported to social services immediately and barred from seeing the child again.
“This guy was being very evasive with me when normally we would engage. He was very stand-offish and wanted me to leave,” Grundy said.
Grundy noticed that the old man’s personality “had completely changed,” and was able to identify this as a key indicator because it was something he learned in his training.
The training has also been completed by an additional 160 workers, including fire officers, teachers and health workers.
Durham Chief Constable Mike Barton says he is “over the moon” with the quick results from the training.
“If people wear certain clothing, if people have certain tattoos, if people behave in a certain way, that might be an indication,” he said.
Barton says when the components are added together, it should give a frontline member of staff “the confidence” to investigate the issue.
Dr Joe Sullivan said the training is about “targeting frontline staff who are not working in the arena of child sexual exploitation.”
Sullivan, who has worked with many perpetrators, said it is important that staff look out for signs in children who may be being abused, or at risk of it.