Top Spalding cop in online project

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SPALDING’S police inspector had a leading role in an operation receiving national recognition for its fight against the exploitation of children.

Lincolnshire Police has been awarded for its significant contribution in the operation by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre.

Insp Chris Davison was the leading inquiry sergeant for Operation Alpine, which led to 132 children in the UK being protected and safeguarded.

The team won an Outstanding Contribution to Online Investigation and Child Protection Award for its work to smash an international child abuse image distribution network spanning 45 countries, which was being run from a tiny Lincolnshire hamlet.

The case came to a conclusion in May last year with the conviction of four men for charges relating to the distribution of child abuse images. Three of the men were later jailed.

Insp Davison said: “It’s always nice to receive recognition for the hard work that goes on behind the scenes, as well as for the more visible parts of policing.

“This enquiry meant prolonged exposure to some of the most harrowing images and videos that the team of experienced detectives had ever experienced.

“In the end, though, the best reward for the work was knowing that we have kept children safe from the behaviour of some extremely dangerous paedophile offenders”.

The awards, which have been presented to over 30 worldwide organisations and individuals over the last four years, aim to recognise those who have gone the extra mile in tackling the sexual abuse of children. Nominated by staff at CEOP, the winners range from front line police officers to industry organisations, all of whom have a vested interest in the safeguarding of children and young people.

Peter Davies, chief executive of the CEOP Centre, said: “I would firstly like to congratulate Lincolnshire Police on behalf of all at CEOP.

“We would not be able to achieve the results we do without that inclusive approach and our awards are designed to recognise those who have gone above and beyond in making a difference.”

Lincolnshire Police assistant chief constable Roger Bannister headed up the investigation and was present with the team to receive the award.

He said: “The safety of children was the main focus of Operation Alpine and the real achievement was the protecting and safeguarding of 132 young people in the UK as a direct result of our work.”