A former police officer found with nearly 100 indecent images of children being abused has swerved jail time and been put on a rehabilitation programme.

Stephen Taylor, 37, formerly of Daiglen Drive, South Ockenden, pleaded guilty to six charges of making indecent images of children and three counts of possessing extreme pornography when he appeared at Basildon Crown Court.

The court heard how officers, acting on intelligence, executed a warrant at his then home address in South Ockenden on October 15 last year.

They searched the property and seized various equipment including laptops, hard drives, cameras and mobile phones. Forensic analysis of the equipment found them to contain:
21 Category A films and moving images (Category A is the most serious category of abuse imagery)
10 Category B films and moving images
62 Category C films and moving images
16 Extreme films and moving images

Taylor was charged, pleaded guilty and was sentenced on Friday March 23 at Basildon Crown Court.

He was sentenced to a three-year community order, been made the subject of a five year sexual harm prevention order, and placed on the Horizons rehabilitation programme.

Following the sentencing Det Insp Ashley Howard said: “Nothing is more important that protecting our children.

“The making, viewing and distribution of indecent images of children is a heinous crime. Each time those images are viewed or shared, those children featured in them are exploited time and again.

“We will leave no stone unturned in our pursuit of those individuals involved in any form of abuse against children and if you are committing these types of offense you can expect to be hearing from us very soon.”

Investigating officer PC Clair Ward added: “Taylor was found in possession of nearly 100 indecent images, each featuring a child that has been sexually abused.

“We will continue to robustly target offenders like him who think it's acceptable to commit these types of offences.”

Taylor is one of more than 58 offenders arrested during a crackdown aimed at targeting offenders downloading, making and distributing indecent images of children online.

Over the year, using an intelligence-led approach, a dedicated team of specialist officers have targeted those carrying out this type of offence. 

The team have worked alongside and in support of Essex Police’s existing specialist Police Online Investigation Team (POLIT) and Child Abuse Investigation Teams (CAIT). 

The Lucy Faithfull Foundation is the only UK-wide child protection charity focused solely on preventing child sexual abuse.

The charity runs Stop it Now! – a child sexual abuse prevention campaign and helpline.

For more information on how Stop it Now! helps people address their online behaviour, please visit the website www.stopitnow.org.uk or call the confidential Stop it Now! Helpline on 0808 1000 900.