Home News by Region Langford West Shore RCMP working on 20 child porn investigations

West Shore RCMP working on 20 child porn investigations

City of Langford Protective Services Committee meeting January 31, 2019

Friday, March 1, 2019 ~ LANGFORD

~ by Mary P Brooke, West Shore Voice News

As a matter of update from the articles first published by West Shore Voice News on February 1 and February 4 (see further down on this page):

The number of investigations for child pornography underway at the West Shore RCMP detachment is now 20 (as of March 1), up from the 17 first reported by West Shore Voice News on February 1 following the City of Langford Protective Services Committee meeting held on January 31 (chaired by Langford Councillor Lillian Szpak).

West Shore RCMP Detachment Commander Todd Preston at the Langford Protective Services Committee meeting, January 31, 2019 [West Shore Voice News]
The detachment reminds the community that investigations are about scenarios where child pornographic materials have been found on or transmitted onto or from a computer or specific IP address. It does not imply that original pornographic materials are being created (in some cases, the use of photo-management software has been used to adapt other images into illegal images).

West Shore RCMP Detachment Commander Todd Preston initially raised the topic at the January committee meeting in the context of demonstrating the workload it takes for his officers to fulfill the investigations; there’s a lot of material to go through, some of it disturbing. Assigned by the BC Integrated Child Exploitation (ICE) unit, time must be found amidst all the other daily and investigative work of the detachment.

The detachment’s General Investigation Section has been working diligently through the investigations, said Cst Nancy Saggar, media relations officer. In the last month they have executed three search warrants for three separate child pornography related offences. Two individuals have been arrested in connection with these investigations for child pornography related offences. These individuals were later released by police with extensive conditions. “The names of these individuals will not be released at this time,” says Saggar. She adds: “We do not have any indication or reports of direct or active child abuse.” The investigations are still on-going.

The number of investigations since January 2018 is a collective number. These investigations are in various stages. Some are in the court process and trials have been conducted and others are just starting. “We don’t believe that the number of investigations being conducted in the West Shore is disproportionate compared to other jurisdictions of a similar size,” says Cst Saggar.

This update was first published on page 3 in the March 1, 2019 print-PDF issue of West Shore Voice News.


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Update/clarification February 4, 2019: There are 17 investigations underway, which does not necessarily mean that 17 persons are being investigated. West Shore RCMP also wishes to clarify that investigations are initiated based on findings that a computer associated with an IP address had been used to access, download or distribute child pornography images, and does *not* imply that any persons doing that were generating original content of that nature.

“It is important to note that this number is collective amount of investigations since January 2018 and that these investigations are in various stages,” says West Shore RCMP Media Spokesperson Cst Nancy Saggar. “Some are in the court process and trials have been conducted and others are just starting. We don’t believe that the number of investigations being conducted in the West Shore are disproportionate compared to jurisdictions of a similar size,” she said.

“We want to highlight that the nature of these investigations require officers to spend a significant amount of time and resources on them. This is particularly true of any kind of cyber crime where computers or storage devices are seized and then have to be sent to our Tech Crimes unit to analyse,” said Cst Saggar.

“Public safety is always number one for us,” says Cst Saggar. “Investigators will always establish if there is a threat to the public/person(s) before continuing on gathering evidence,” she told West Shore Voice News on February 4.


As first posted February 1, 2019:

There are 17 persons in the west shore area under investigation for child pornography, with 12 of those in Langford.

That finding for 2018 with the followup work now rolling into 2019 was reported by West Shore RCMP Detachment Commander Todd Preston during the Langford Protective Services Committee meeting on Thursday, January 31.

Digging into IP addresses and confiscating computers after obtaining multiple warrants, that’s just the start for the Integrated Child Exploitation (ICE) investigators. Then a team of general inspectors are having to review all the material, to formulate evidence.

ICE investigator, RCMP, child pornography
ICE investigator works on files.

“It’s quite a volume of information to review,” says Preston. That’s all on top of dealing with attempted murders, assaults, and fraud.

“The trend is up. It’s a disturbing trend. We’re inundated with child pornography files,” he told West Shore Voice News following the committee meeting in council chambers.

During his report, Preston also reminded the committee about how the West Shore RCMP building is aging and lacking room, desks and computers for some of the officers. The detachment services five west shore municipalities — Langford, Colwood, View Royal, Highlands and Metchosin — as well as Songhees First Nation and Esquimalt First Nation. The detachment building is centrally located in Langford where the largest concentration of population within its area resides.

Langford council, protective services, Lillian Szpak
Langford Councillor Lillian Szpak chairs the Langford Protective Services Committee [January 31, 2019 photo ~ West Shore Voice News]
The detachment is outgrowing the 18-year-old building and within five years “won’t be able to support the policing complement that you have”, said Preston. Some mechanical systems are starting to require replacement and with substantial growth in the detachment over the years it’s been tough to fit in more desks.

A report prepared by City of Langford Finance for 2019-2023 shows two more officers coming on stream, as per Langford Council’s priority on community safety. Plus one more officer to cover policing as related to cannabis.

The estimated overall Langford protective services budget for 2019 is $8,325,466 with $7,875,132 of that spent directly on policing services (before administration, buildings and capital projects).

Langford’s municipal share of overhead at the RCMP detachment building for 2019 is $206,530, with Colwood contributing $93,670 and View Royal contributing $56,694.

The City of Langford’s Protective Services Committee is chaired by Councillor Lillian Szpak. The committee also heard reports from Langford Fire Chief Chris Aubrey (separate article to come) and from the Bylaw Department staff and Building Department.

city of langford, protective services
City of Langford Protective Services Committee at their January 31, 2019 meeting [West Shore Voice News photo]
The committee was given a presentation about the Victoria Sexual Assault Clinic by that project’s coordinator Grace Lore. The organization has asked Langford Council for $10,000 though so far only $2,000 is being considered by council, said Szpak, as the clinic serves all municipalities in the region.

The independent sexual assault organization which supports the work of police and hospitals does not receive direct funding from the Ministry of Health or from Island Health for the clinic that opened in 2016.