Wednesday, 28 January 2004

Questions (203)

John Deasy

Question:

322 Mr. Deasy asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will provide additional funding to the Garda to tackle the growth of child pornography on the Internet; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2541/04]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform)

I have been informed by the Garda authorities who are responsible for the detailed allocation of resources, including personnel, that the domestic violence and sexual assault unit operating within the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation has an established strength of one detective inspector, three detective sergeants and 11 detective gardaí. The paedophile investigation unit is in existence since November 2002 and operates under the umbrella of the domestic violence and sexual assault unit. It consists of one detective sergeant and three detective gardaí.

Personnel from the main stream units of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation augment these units, as the volume of work requires. Computer forensics are carried out by the domestic violence and sexual assault unit and also by the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation utilising up to date forensic software.

Substantial Garda resources are utilised in the investigation of child pornography on the Internet. Operation Amethyst was a very successful operation utilising Garda personnel on a countrywide basis under the direction and control of expert personnel from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

The Garda Síochána investigates all alleged breaches of the Child Trafficking and Pornography Act 1998 brought to its attention by external police forces, the Internet advisory board hotline and by concerned citizens.

The Garda Síochána is fully committed to the investigation of all cases of child pornography coming to notice and is very much aware of the importance of investigating the child protection issues involved in such cases.

Suspected criminal cases involving the use of the Internet are complex cases. All cases coming to notice immediately become the subject of initial investigation. Cases on hand are at various stages of the investigative process and will culminate in files being sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions.