A policeman arrested on suspicion of possessing extreme pornography has been cleared after an internal investigation. Four other officers placed on desk jobs as part of a criminal and internal misconduct investigation into the use of a social
media account will also face no action, Devon and Cornwall police have said.
The Crown Prosecution Service did not consider the image constituted extreme porn nor did they find any criminality, the force claimed. A police spokesman said:
The investigation centred on one image which was produced as an inappropriate joke on a social media account . The behaviour was misguided and as such management action was given in the form of words of advice to those involved. This
brings the matter to a conclusion. All five officers have now returned to front line duties.
Extreme pornographic images found on the phone of a County Down man had been sent to him as a joke by friends, Banbridge Magistrates Court.
He pleaded to guilty to six charges of possession of an extreme pornographic image and District Judge Benita Boyd imposed a one year probation order.
A barrister explained that the unlucky man had his vehicle stolen and it was used in some serious offences which did not involve him in any way. The police examined his phone and found six video images of extreme pornography involving animals and
people and the defendant was arrested. He had been sent them via WhatsApp.
The prosecutor said there was no suggestion that the defendant had asked for them to be sent to him and the prosecution case was that they were not for sexual gratification but simply they were on the phone.
The LibDems have published a discussion paper to debate policy on the decriminalisation of sex work. It will be debated at the up coming party conference and beyond. The paper also touches on the subject of the legality of porn:
In addition to public discussions of the legalities surrounding prostitution, there has also been an increase in concerns related to access to pornography, the types of pornography available, and the oversexualisation of culture as a whole. The
Conservative government has pushed to implement a porn filter which would require UK internet users to input a credit card number before accessing otherwise free porn hosted outside the UK. This is designed to prevent children from corning
across porn by accident, although data supporting this aim is weak. Liberal Democrat conference has previously voted heavily against implementing a porn filter -- this group agrees with the position of conference on this issue.
Similarly, relatively recent laws on extreme porn and video on demand services have led to some pornographic websites, particularly those featuring consensual BDSM scenes, being shut down.
A number of high profile oases prosecuted under extreme porn laws have tailed to result in conviction - for instance, R v Walsh  where a man had video and images of acts he himself had performed, and R v Holland  a man who had been
sent a WhatsApp pornographic video purporting to be of a tiger and a woman engaged in a sex act but which turned out to be a man dressed as a tiger - a fact that was only uncovered in the courtroom. These laws not only cover scenes where so
damage was caused, but also hentai and anime pornography where no real people are involved at all.
The paper then suggests questions for discussion:
What role (if any) do you think the state should play in regulating pornography That is made by consenting adults?
Should there be limits placed on the sexual behaviour of consenting pornography actors when this does not result in permanent harm?
Do you support a porn fitter - a filter on websites accessed from the UK that would require users to enter a credit card number to prove they are aged over 18 before being able to access pornography?
Has can the internet be made safer for those for whom pomography is not intended?
A UK advocacy group says that a new Maltese law criminalisig the possession of extreme pornography risks criminalising sexual minorities.
While criminalising pornography depicting bestiality or necrophilia, the new regulations also make it illegal to possess images which portray non-consensual sexual activity or acts that could result in severe injury , even if the images
are staged and all the participants are consenting adults. Anyone convicted under the new law will be liable to up to three years in prison or a fine of up to 6,000 euro.
Backlash has warned that the British law on which the regulations are based has led to several convictions for possession of pornography depicting BDSM (bondage and dominance, sadism and masochism), rough sex and other common, albeit
non-mainstream, sexual preferences. Nick Cowen of Backlash told the Times of Malta:
There is a wide range of material that could be covered by the law's language, but it is unclear whether or how it could be used by prosecutors
This means people face a lot of uncertainty as to what is illegal, which is potentially very damaging to the rule of law. The law can harm anyone experimenting with alternative sexual acts that can be as safe (or safer) than intercourse.
The lawyer who drafted the regulations has argued that there is a legitimate aim to criminalise pornography which might induce certain people to copy what they are seeing but admitted that there was a bit of a grey area as to what
could be prosecuted.
The Adam Smith Institute has just released a new paper by Nicholas Cowen of Kings College London: Nothing to Hide: The case against the ban on extreme pornography.
In it, Cowen makes a robust case against the current prohibition on acts that are legal to perform--and yet not to record--show it to be expensive, dangerous, and illiberal.
The executive summary of the paper reads:
The ban on possession of extreme pornography was introduced in 2009 and extended in 2015. The law, as drafted, bans depictions of some sex acts that can be conducted safely and consensually between adults, with a
specific risk of prosecution posed to LGBT minorities.
The Crown Prosecution Service reports more than a thousand offences prosecuted each year, implying significant enforcement costs that could be deployed effectively elsewhere.
A significant minority of the British population enjoy sexually aggressive fantasy scenarios but do not pose a specific risk of committing violent or sexual offences.
Access to pornography has increased dramatically in recent years, yet social harms imputed to pornography (especially violence against women) have reduced moderately but significantly.
While some survey evidence claims a correlation between individual use of pornography and sexual aggression, econometric evidence suggests this is not a causal relationship and that, if anything, increased access to
pornography can reduce measurable social harms.
The ban itself represents a potential risk to political integrity. Like the ban on homosexuality in much of the 20th century, prohibitions on private sexual conduct can be used to silence, blackmail and corrupt individuals
in positions of authority and responsibility.
There are better policies for reducing violence against women in the dimensions of criminal justice, education and economic reform.
The prevailing free speech doctrine in the United States shows that it is realistically possible to simultaneously tackle damaging forms of expression and maintain strong protections for innocuous forms.
Sam Bowman, Executive Director of the Adam Smith Institute said,
Most people don't want the government in their bedrooms, but that's what extreme porn laws do. This report highlights just how bad these laws really are -- they turn millions of law-abiding adults into potential criminals simply for enjoying
consensual spanking or dressing up in the bedroom. The evidence is very clear that pornography does not drive violence, and indeed it may reduce it. These are badly drafted laws that should never have made it to the statute books, and this
report confirms the urgent need for the government to scrap them."
Nick Cowen, author of the paper said,
The extreme porn ban criminalises depictions of sex acts even if they are safely performed by consenting adults. We have seen the law used, in particular, to target and expose gay men. Each such case represents a personal tragedy and a
disgraceful use of our criminal justice system's scarce resources. The costs of the law are disproportionate to any public benefit, and as implemented cannot plausibly protect women's interests for which the ban was supposedly introduced.
A former Angus animal sanctuary worker has received a three-year Community Payback Order, which will include a ban on the accused keeping any animal.
He was convicted of the possession of bestiality porn at Forfar Sheriff Court.
The man's home computer was found to contain pictures and videos depicting extreme acts between adults and dogs, cows, pigs and horses. Forfar Sheriff Court.
The collection was discovered after staff at the animal centre where he worked found a link to a bestiality website on his computer. Police obtained a search warrant and uncovered over 1,000 images and 400 videos of adult males and females
involving permutations of sexual acts involving horses, dogs, pigs and cows.
Sheriff Gregor Murray said: The choice for me is between a relatively brief prison sentence and a bespoke community order. The former would serve little purpose.
Criminal cases of publishing extreme porn and other supposedly obscene materials nearly trebled in West Yorkshire last year.
Figures from the Home Office have revealed the number of recorded crimes of obscene publication in the year up to and including September 2015. Obscene materials were found to have been published on 673 occasions in West Yorkshire during this
period, an increase of nearly treble compared to the 228 such crimes in the previous 12-month period.
According to the Crown Prosecution Service examples of materials that are considered obscene include bestiality, extreme sadomasochism, realistic portrayals of rape and bondage.
Across the whole of England and Wales there were 10,644 cases of obscene publication in the 12 months up to and including September 2015. This is the equivalent of 1.9 cases for every 10,000 people. This is an increase of 98% compared to 5,376
such crimes in the 12 months to September 2014.
Update: Extreme pornography persecutions double in Greater Manchester
The number of prosecutions related to obscene pornography has doubled in Greater Manchester. New statistics from the Home Office show that hundreds of investigations have taken place into internet users' downloads of dangerous pictures.
Figures show that there were 575 prosecutions for people viewing extreme pornography in Greater Manchester last year. These figures do not include cases related to child sexual abuse, as they are recorded independently.
A forest ranger has been prosecuted for dangerous pictures in Scotland. He was found with 30 explicit and realistic bestiality videos and 40 pictures showing the extreme acts when police raided his home.
Sheriff William Gilchrist placed him under supervision for 12 months. The victim was not placed on the sex offenders register but he has resigned from his job.