Former police sergeant sentenced over child porn

Andrew Nicholson

Andrew Nicholson

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A former police sergeant and church leader who distributed child porn has been sentenced to a three-year community order.

Andrew Nicholson, 42, was serving with North Yorkshire Police in the Scarborough area in July 2013 when he was caught by officers investigating users of the GigaTribe file sharing programme.

Married Nicholson, who resigned from the force in October and has also stood down from voluntary roles as a church and youth leader and school governor, was sentenced today (Friday) after earlier admitting distributing an indecent photograph of a child and possessing three indecent images of a child, found on an Apple iPhone.

They were rated category C, on a scale of A to C, C being the least serious.

Nicholson was made the subject of a three-year supervision order with a requirement to take part in a sex-offenders’ programme.

The Judge told Nicholson, who was arrested in March 2014 when a search warrant was executed at his home: “You achieved promotion in your job as a serving police officer and have effectively thrown away your career and good name.”

She said there was no suggestion that he had committed the offences at work or while volunteering in other roles and was judged at low risk of reoffending.

She “would have preferred” to impose a jail sentence to mark the gravity of the offences, but the timescale for the sex offenders programme could not be accommodated within the sentence.

North Yorkshire Police said Nicholson had been “re-deployed into a non-public facing policing role on March 7 2014” while Humberside Police investigated intelligence relating to computer files linked to the defendant.

He was formally suspended on October 27 2014, resigning a year later.

Nicholson will get the pension that he has paid in up to his resignation.

Detective Constable Chris Kipling, of the internet sex offender team at Humberside Police, said: “We investigate all sexual offences of this nature and take them very seriously.

“Behind every indecent image of a child is a victim and while this sort of activity continues, more children will be abused.”