‘Depraved’ police camera operator from York jailed over thousands of indecent child images

Bradley Paul Smith
2 Mar 2020 @ 3.55 pm
| Crime

A former police staff member has been sent to prison for four years for possessing and distributing indecent images of children and voyeurism.

Bradley Paul Smith, aged 36, from York, worked as a safety camera van operator with North Yorkshire Police until he was arrested on 6 February 2019 and suspended from duty.

He has been sacked from the force.

The arrest stemmed from information supplied to North Yorkshire Police by the National Crime Agency’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP).

North Yorkshire Police’s Online Abuse & Exploitation Team conducted an extensive inquiry which included numerous smart phones, tablets and laptops being forensically examined by the Digital Forensics Unit to secure evidence.

Thousands of indecent images of children, going back to 2011, were recovered including those classified in the most extreme Category A, as well as Category B and C offences.

Secret filming

A mobile safety camera unit. Photograph: North Yorkshire Police

The investigation team also recovered numerous videos taken from inside the men’s changing room at a local gym, a video of a teenager getting changed inside a bedroom and a child asleep on a bed.

Officers were able to prove that Smith had filmed these particular videos himself.

On 9 December 2019, Smith was charged with two counts of distribution of indecent images of children, three counts of making indecent images of children, one count of taking an indecent image of a child, and eight counts of voyeurism.

He appeared at York Magistrates’ Court on 14 January 2020 and the case was committed to York Crown Court on 10 February were Smith pleaded guilty to the following offences:

  • On 6 February 2019, distributed indecent photos – namely two indecent videos – of a child in the most extreme Category A
  • Between 13 June 2017 and 7 February 2019, distributed five indecent images of a child in Category C
  • On or before 6 February 2019, made 490 indecent photographs of children in Category A, consisting of 247 images and 243 movies
  • On or before 6 February 2019, made 528 indecent photographs of children in Category B, consisting of 342 images and 186 movies
  • On or before 6 February 2019, made 2,643 photographs in Category C, consisting of 2,608 images and 35 movies
  • Took an indecent photograph of a child in York between 30 June 2014 and 21 April 2015
  • Eight counts of voyeurism between June 2014 and July 2019.

‘Sickening actions’

York Crown Court. Photograph: YorkMix

Smith was released on bail ahead of today’s (Monday 2 March 2020) sentencing at York Crown Court where he was also made subject to a sexual harm prevention order and placed on the sex offenders’ register.

Detective Sergeant Lee Allenby, of the Online Abuse & Exploitation Team, said:

  • When the evidence of his offending was presented to him during the investigation, Bradley Smith initially claimed he was only interested in adult pornography and that the indecent images of children were downloaded accidentally.

    However, we were able to prove beyond doubt that he is a serious offender and it is pleasing that he admitted his guilt at court.

    He is now facing up to the consequences of his sickening actions.

DS Allenby added: “A very concerning aspect of the investigation is that Smith, while still on police duties and on the same day of his arrest, had uploaded two Category A indecent images of children on his personal tablet device.

“This showed how deeply he was embroiled in this depraved and secretive world. However, there is no evidence or suggestion that offences were committed using police equipment.

“This case shows that North Yorkshire Police is determined and equipped to secure justice in such a complex investigation. Also that we operate without fear or favour even when the suspect works for the same police force.”