In Brief

Mother wins judicial review of police over teen sexting

Underage sex texting cases has soared to 6,238 offences a year in England and Wales

The mother of a teenager who sent his naked photo to a girl at school has won the right to a judicial review over Greater Manchester Police officers who refused to delete his police records, the BBC reports.

The boy, who was 14 at the time, sent a naked selfie to a girl at his school on the message application Snapchat.

The recipent of the photo shared it with others, and the “sexting” incident eventually came to the attention of police. Although the boy was not arrested or prosecuted, the information was stored on police computers as it is an offence to distribute an indecent image of a child, even if the sender is the child in question.

Underage sexting cases are on the rise, with 6,238 offences recorded in England and Wales in 2016-17 – a 131% rise from 2014-15, The Independent reports.

The boy’s mother brought the case to court over concerns that the information could be released to potential employers when her son is older. The boy, now 16, cannot be identified. 

Interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the woman said she feared the record would “hang over” her son throughout his adult life, adding that smartphones were a “Pandora’s Box” for young people as the law has not kept up with technology.

Police were expected to argue that they would only pass on details to an employer after weighing the risk against the impact the disclosure would have on the accused. But campaign group Just for Kids Law told the BBC that it was aware of other sexting cases where police were too heavy-handed.

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