On 26 April 2017 Inspector Timothy Ryton appeared at Lewes Crown Court in East Sussex for distributing and taking indecent images of children. The material included sexual abuse of underage girls.

Ryton was sentenced to nine years imprisonment following his guilty plea and conviction in March 2017 of nine criminal charges to include three counts of distributing indecent images, two counts of voyeurism, two counts of taking indecent videos and two counts of distribution of indecent videos.

The investigations revealed that Ryton had been using a private messaging app on his mobile phone to distribute indecent images and videos that he had made.

Ryton, who was described by Judge Niblett as a “deeply disturbed man”, was dismissed by Kent Police for gross misconduct, following 25 years’ service.

Judge Niblett, during sentencing, referred to Ryton as “a significant danger to children, especially young girls” with the case illustrating the worst breach of trust Judge Niblett has ever seen.

It is right that Ryton has been brought to justice. Protecting the community and safeguarding the most vulnerable people in our society should have been at the forefront of Ryton’s mind as he carried out his duties as a police officer. Unfortunately, Ryton abused his position of trust and instead carried out these abhorrent offences.

Sadly child pornography is an escalating problem. In response to cases such as Ryton’s, the NSPCC is calling for every police force in the UK to have a specialist digital child abuse unit, dealing with online offences against children. A change that we would greatly welcome.