More than 10% of 257 child sex offenders on Queensland’s reportable register were caught committing crimes – including possessing child exploitation material – during police device inspections in the past year.
The Queensland Police Service (QPS), in its Use of Device Inspections Powers 2020-21 Annual Report, said that on 1 July 2017 the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000 was amended to create a new section 21 B – which gave them powers to inspect digital devices for the Child Protection (Offender Reporting and Offender Prohibition Order) Act 2004.
The amendment provided police with powers to inspect storage devices of reportable offenders and specified which reportable offenders were to be subject to these device inspection powers.
The report prepared by the QPS Child Protection Offender Registry, Child Abuse and Sexual Crime Group and Crime and Intelligence Command was tabled in Queensland Parliament on Monday.
“During the 2020/21 financial year 257 unique reportable offenders were subject to device inspections,” the report says. “A total number of 316 device inspections were conducted … (and) led to detection of criminal offences, concerning conduct being identified and intelligence being located.
“Utilisation of the powers under some of these circumstances have allowed police to disrupt the offending cycle as per the intent of the legislation. Analysis of the device inspections completed identified all legislative requirements have been met.”
A 12-page annexure to the report shows that, as a result of the 316 inspections of the 257 unique reportable offenders, 30 were found to have committed further crimes or breaches.
Offences by the convicted child sex offenders included multiple counts of using a carriage service (the internet) to access child abuse material, possessing child exploitation material, failing to comply with reporting conditions, providing false and misleading information, possessing dangerous drugs and property suspected of being stolen.
See the report.