INSPECTORS BLOG: On-line safety
Let me ask all parents of children aged 10-16 some questions....
Do your children have a mobile phone?
Do they have a contract that enables them to use 3/4G and access the internet?
Do you know who they're interacting with all via social media sites?
Why am I asking this?
Because on-line grooming offences take place and whilst you may have restrictions placed on your Wi-Fi at home, when your children are elsewhere can you be sure that they are safe from potential on-line grooming?
This week my officers commenced an investigation into such an offence involving an 11 year old child. They had been contacted by someone claiming to be 13 years of age via Instagram. They were also messaged via Facebook. Thankfully a meeting never took place and the 11 year old is safe, but I pose the questions above because it is easy to assume that YOUR child will NEVER be targeted, will NEVER communicate with people they don't actually know and therefore could NEVER be the victim of on-line grooming. Be aware of who your children communicate with, be aware of the sites they visit and don't EVER assume that your child could not be a victim.
The Schools Police Officers who work in Torfaen already speak to children about the need to safely use the internet and how to ensure that they don't become potential victims, but it's also important that all parents are aware of their own responsibilities and ensure that children are as safe as they possibly can be.
You may have seen the press release last week about a child being assaulted on her way to Cwmbran High School. Understandably, this is an incident that has seen a robust police response and I understand the concerns that the community has. I've read the social media concerns and wish to reassure the community that a thorough police investigation is already well under way. In addition, I have ensured that some of my officers will be in the Neerings and wider area to provide reassurance to the community as we seek to identify the offender. We liaised with Cwmbran High School on Friday to ensure that staff were able to talk to all students and the same message was passed to local primary schools on Monday. To reiterate, we'd like to speak to a man in connection with this incident. He is described as being in his early 20s, clean shaven with short dark hair that is described as worn in a quiff. He is around 5 foot 6 inches tall, slim build, wearing black clothing and carrying a black umbrella, he has a local accent.
In the meantime many of my officers are now 'tweeting' and you can read of their work via @gpcwmbran and @gppontypool.
Inspector Dave Morgan
Torfaen Neighbourhood Policing Inspector