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Designing police investigation strategies for child sex offending groups

Brayley, H; (2013) Designing police investigation strategies for child sex offending groups. Doctoral thesis (PhD), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Through a multi-method approach, this thesis uncovered the nature and characteristics of a hitherto little understood crime, internal child sex trafficking (ICST). This original large-scale study, the first of its kind in the UK, addressed an important knowledge gap in the literature and publications from this thesis have been used to support new investigations, policy development and to guide further academic research. Through access to sensitive and restricted documents and case files, this thesis explored the group-based element to ICST offending and identified patterns and typologies. Through identified commonalities among ICST cases, the thesis focused on supporting future investigations and prosecutions through four main approaches. First, an exploration of different group-based factors to ICST was conducted. This included identifying methods of recruitment, such as introduction via another offender, and benefits to joining a group, such as additional access to children or abuse locations. Second, an assessment of investigative and prosecution strategies was conducted which showed a wide range of tactics being used with no consistent approach across force areas. Third, a forensic experimental study was conducted aimed at improving understanding around persistence of semen on stained then laundered clothing, a common scenario seen in ICST cases. The findings from this study showed that the tested samples contained enough DNA to produce a full profile for use in UK and international courts, an important development for supporting future ICST cases. Finally, an eight theme framework for understanding a group’s structure and function was developed and examined using SWOT analysis. Suggestions such as the use of undercover police officers or targeted awareness raising were presented as possible options for tackling ICST groups. To conclude, the thesis discussed the potential use of tactics employed in other crime investigations, including covert policing and the use of victim reception centres, when conducting future ICST operations.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: PhD
Title: Designing police investigation strategies for child sex offending groups
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: Child sexual exploitation, Police investigation
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Security and Crime Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1408333
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