A police officer has admitted to more than 100 counts of online encouraging children to do sexual things.
Lewis Edwards, who lives in Bridgend and is 23 years old, pretended to be a teenager on Snapchat to get girls as young as 12 to send him pictures and videos, which he then secretly taped.
He then used the tapes to blackmail his victims, making them send him more and more graphic and explicit pictures. He told the people he hurt that he wouldn’t be looked into because he was a police officer.
Edwards was a police officer when his “extreme” and “predatory” crimes were found out. He went to Cardiff Crown Court on Tuesday.
During Edwards’ arrest, his home was searched and a blackmail handbook and a number of highly encrypted electronic devices were found.
The South Wales Police (SWP) Online Investigation Team said that it has already found 12 victims, but that it is working hard to find more.
During the hearing, Edwards confessed to 106 crimes, including blackmail, encouraging a child to engage in sexual activity, making a child watch a sex act, sexual communication, making indecent images of children, having indecent images of children, and a single charge of distribution.
On August 23, he will get his sentence. After being caught, Edwards was taken off the job right away, and he later quit, the force said.
It also said, “An accelerated misconduct hearing was held, and he was fired as a result.” He has been put on the list of people who can’t work as police officers again.
People say that Edwards used his job to tell the people he hurt that he would not be probed.
The head of the online probe team, Det Sup Tracey Rankine, said that Edwards’ victims “lived in fear of him.”
Assistant Chief Constable Danny Richards defended the force’s vetting process and said it was “recently only one of two in the country to be assessed as good by His Majesty’s Inspectorate for how we vet officers and staff, how well we protect information and data we hold, and how well we deal with corruption.”
He also said, “The public will be just as shocked and sickened as I am that a police officer is guilty of such terrible crimes.”
“Lewis Edwards’ actions only hurt the public’s trust and confidence in the police and hurt the work of the vast majority of responsible, hard-working police officers who serve the people of South Wales with courage and pride.”
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