Manchester

Mum wins legal review over police keeping son's naked photo details

Child holding a phone Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Police logged details of the boy's action under the heading "Obscene Publications"

The mother of a schoolboy who sent a naked photo of himself to a girl has won the right to a judicial review over a police force's refusal to delete his name from its records.

The boy, aged 14 at the time, was not arrested or prosecuted by Greater Manchester Police.

His mother said she was concerned police could release the information to potential employers when he is older.

The boy sent the naked photograph over social media to a girl at his school.

The girl then shared the image, sent two years ago, with others.

'Young, naive and silly'

The boy's mother said she was "in complete shock" when she heard what had happened, but "this had all happened in the privacy of his own bedroom".

She said even though "he was young, he was naive, he was silly" she believes the subsequent sharing of the photo by others was "malicious".

Police took no action against him other than to record on their database that he had taken and forwarded an "indecent" image of himself, logged under a section entitled "Obscene Publications".

Greater Manchester Police has refused to delete the boy's name from its files, a decision his mother is contesting at the High Court.

She said: "It's going to be held there infinitum, so for all his adult life it hangs over him."

'Penalised children'

Shauneen Lambe, chief executive of Just For Kids Law which is supporting the family, said a generation of children was being "penalised" by a law that was supposed to protect them.

Home Office policy is understood to be that police have to record such incidents but whether their name is included is at the force's discretion, which may have implications for future job applications especially if working with children.

Ms Lambe said the real fear about discretion was that it creates uncertainty, as one chief officer might take one view while another might take the opposite.

Olivia Pinkney, the chief constable of Hampshire who is lead officer on the National Police Chief's Council (NPCC), expressed concern two years ago that the policy was not consistently applied and said she was "worried for today's young people".

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