Student police officer jailed for sending explicit images to a nine year old girl
A former student police officer has been sentenced to four years in jail after sending sexual messages and explicit images of himself to a 9-year-old girl.
Jason Hicks, 31, of Bishopsteignton, was discovered to have committed the offences while he was in training to be a Devon and Cornwall police officer.
Officers found over 1,200 indecent images and videos of children on Hicks'computers when they searched his home.
He admitted to the offences during his first police interview and pleaded guilty to a total of 13 charges in court.
He had used TikTok and Snapchat to befriend the victim and four other children, posing as an older teenager. The child’s parents discovered she had been communicating with an adult male and contacted the police in their area.
Enquiries and research later led officers to Hicks in Devon, who was at the time a student police officer and was still in training school.
He had not yet conducted any public-facing, frontline duties and was dismissed from the police force without notice. Hicks is now on the College of Policing Barred List.
He has been issued a ten-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order and will serve three years on licence after being released from prison.
Temporary Assistant Chief Constable, Steve Parker, emphasized that the force takes any reports of illegal or inappropriate conduct seriously.
He said: “We note and welcome the sentencing of Jason Hicks today for what are despicable offences.
"I would like to commend the bravery of the young victim in this case and her family in coming forward and reporting these appalling crimes. We remain committed to bringing perpetrators of such offences to justice and those responsible will always be investigated and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
“All police officers, including those in training, have a privileged role in being part of a Force responsible for the safeguarding of vulnerable people. The actions of Jason Hicks were wholly wrong and illegal and he now faces the consequences of that.
"Our Paedophile Online Investigation Team and Professional Standards Department acted swiftly as soon as these offences were brought to our attention and Hicks was immediately arrested and suspended. Accelerated misconduct proceedings meant he was dismissed soon after.
He added: “Devon and Cornwall Police takes any reports of illegal or inappropriate conduct extremely seriously. All officers and staff are expected to abide by the Code of Ethics and ensure the highest standards of behaviour, both on and off duty.
“I can reassure the public that the overwhelming majority of our officers and staff work diligently to help to keep the public safe, uphold our high standards and provide an exceptional service to our communities.
“We will always take the appropriate action when standards fall below those expected and continue to learn from any instances where they do.”
David Barnes, District Crown Prosecutor for CPS South West, said: “Hicks used social media to find and contact young girls. He pretended to be a teenage boy, sending explicit messages and photographs while encouraging the girls to send him intimate images of themselves. At least one girl, aged just nine years old, sent photographs of herself to Hicks as a result.
"Women and girls have the right to feel safe everywhere, including online. We will continue to work in partnership with the police and other agencies across the criminal justice system to strengthen and improve our joint approach to tackling these appalling crimes.”