Police chief investigated for possessing indecent photographs spared jail
- Steven Sansbury’s residence was searched in 2021 when he was a chief inspector
- The 55-year-old retired on his full pension earlier than the case had gone to court docket
A former police chief who retired whereas below investigation for possessing indecent photographs of kids was spared jail on Monday after a decide mentioned the ‘disgrace’ of admitting his crimes was the best punishment he might obtain.
Officers from Lancashire Police searched the house of Steven Sansbury, who was then a chief inspector with the pressure, in 2021 and located ten express pictures of boys as younger as eight, a court docket heard.
He was suspended from his £62,000-a-year job however retired on his full pension earlier than the case had gone to court docket or misconduct proceedings had been introduced towards him.
On Monday, the 55-year-old stood grim-faced within the dock at Manchester Crown Court as his barrister described his ‘humiliation’ at how his 30-year policing profession had been ended by what his bosses branded the ‘abhorrent’ crimes.
But a decide accepted there was no proof that Sansbury had been intentionally on the lookout for photographs of kids after listening to he had been looking for ‘twinks’ – pornographic photos of adolescent-looking males.
Officers from Lancashire Police searched the house of Steven Sansbury (pictured) who was then a chief inspector with the pressure, in 2021 and located ten express pictures of boys as younger as eight, a court docket heard
Sansbury – who was as soon as pictured posing with a fearsome-looking Game of Thrones-style axe throughout a crackdown on knife crime – refused to remark after leaving court docket with a 12-month group order.
He was additionally ordered to signal the intercourse offenders’ register for the subsequent 5 years.
In 2018, Sansbury led a marketing campaign to steer youth gangs in Preston at hand over their knives, telling an area paper they ‘might find yourself with a legal report and somebody might find yourself with life-changing accidents and even lifeless’.
However when his indifferent residence in Blackburn was searched as a part of an unspecified and unrelated investigation in January 2021, a laptop computer and exterior arduous drive have been seized.
They have been discovered to include seven indecent photographs that includes kids aged 13-15 classed as class B – the second most severe classification – and three exhibiting kids aged between eight and 15 which have been classed as class C.
The photographs had been downloaded in 2009 and saved in a pc folder.
Interviewed in regards to the photographs, he claimed he had been on the lookout for gay pornographic photographs and had looked for ‘twinks’ – described by prosecutor Philip Barnes as ‘grownup males with the looks of younger, hairless males’.
Sansbury was as soon as pictured posing with a fearsome-looking Game of Thrones-style axe throughout a crackdown on knife crim
Sansbury was suspended, and retired final 12 months earlier than the case went to court docket
Sansbury was suspended, and retired final 12 months earlier than the case went to court docket.
He appeared within the dock on Monday after admitting two counts of creating indecent photographs of kids at a earlier listening to.
His barrister, David Pojur, mentioned shedding his ‘hitherto good character’ had been a ‘sobering’ expertise.
‘Mr Sansbury comes earlier than the court docket humiliated, having been a senior police officer for 3 a long time,’ he added.
‘The impact of shedding his good character and shifting from [being] a senior police officer to the dock is a salutary lesson.’
Imposing a group order with 80 hours of unpaid work, Judge Nicholas Dean KC, the Honorary Recorder of Manchester, instructed Sansbury he had ‘served, little doubt with some distinction, as a senior police officer’.
The decide mentioned the explanation why Sansbury saved the photographs was ‘not now clear’, however accepted he was not somebody who ‘persistently’ sought illicit pictures.
‘The lack of your good character and the disgrace of your departure from the police pressure in these circumstances is plainly a major punishment,’ he added.
Judge Dean rejected a prosecution software to impose a sexual harms prevention order, saying there was no proof that Sansbury had downloaded additional unlawful photographs.
Sansbury appeared within the dock in Manchester Crown Court Monday after admitting two counts of creating indecent photographs of kids at a earlier listening to.
However he ordered that Sansbury attend ten days of classes with probation to deal with his offending.
Asked as he left court docket about his crimes and why he had retired earlier than dealing with justice, Sansbury – his face obscured by a surgical masks – mentioned: ‘No remark.’
Afterwards Temporary Detective Chief Inspector Eugene Swift, of Lancashire Police, mentioned: ‘We know the general public will understandably be as appalled as we’re by this abhorrent offending, which is made extra stunning by the very fact it was dedicated by anyone ready of belief.
‘I want to reassure the general public that Sansbury was suspended from responsibility when his offending first got here to gentle, which was on account of an investigation by our Professional Standards Department.
‘Where there may be proof of criminality, as was the case with Sansbury, we pursue prosecution.
‘Gross misconduct proceedings will happen in the end to ascertain what motion would have been taken towards Sansbury had he nonetheless been a serving police officer.’
Sansbury’s shame comes amid calls to scrub up policing following a string of latest scandals, together with the rape and homicide of Sarah Everard by Wayne Couzens, a serving Met officer.
Home Office pointers launched in 2017 mentioned that not permitting officers accused of misconduct to resign or retire whereas investigations are ongoing – thereby leaving them suspended on full pay for months and even years – had created an ‘unsatisfactory scenario for the pressure and officer involved’.
In 2021, 45 per cent of officers in England and Wales dealing with misconduct proceedings resigned or retired earlier than the method concluded, an investigation by the Sunday Times revealed.