Greater Manchester Police officer charged with child abuse offences

A detective at Greater Manchester Police has been charged with child sexual abuse offences.

Lee Cunliffe, 40, a detective constable based in Salford, was charged with 11 offences earlier. They include two counts of attempting to arrange the commission of a child sexual abuse offence.

Mr Cunliffe, who was arrested in December 2020 and has been suspended from duty since then, is due to appear before magistrates on 26 October. The officer has been bailed ahead of the hearing.

He will also face one count of possessing and three counts of making an indecent photograph or pseudo-photograph of a child. He has also been charged with two counts of misconduct in public office and two counts of perverting the course of justice.

The offences are alleged to have taken place between January and September 2020.

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Not really sure why you’ve posted this, other than to point out that police officers also break the law sometimes along with every other kind of person in all walks of life, even female police officers. (Despite Williams losing her conviction appeal, she did win her ‘unfair dismissal’ appeal a couple of months later.) This report is also only in the early stages of investigation and is fairly non-committal about the charges - and hence very susceptible to speculation.

However, one thing that is reported:

I find particularly annoying, as “possessing” and “making” are effectively the same thing. - It’s impossible to possess any digital media without making it; by having the downloaded data manipulate and create the image in the device memory.

However, when it’s reported in the media, as it has been here, it is highly likely that the majority of readers interpret it as: “he persuaded one or more children to engage in sexual activity that he filmed or photographed”.

I can’t help feeling that whichever legislator recognised this description as technically true, and recommended it be used as “correct legal terminology”, felt overjoyed that they had found a way to disingenuously persuade the legal justice system to shame those accused of downloading CSAM at a way more serious level than if purely charged/convicted for possession.

Legal-speak really is a magical thing isn’t it

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This is like, the fourth one this year.

Then you’ve got one who raped somebody, and another who murdered a woman earlier this year on the other side of the spectrum.

These are people who are supposed to - to an extent - protect people, especially children. It’s not a good look if they’re a bigger danger than ordinary people.


Yes, ordinary people aren’t handed a gun and a license to kill.

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Police in the UK aren’t armed.

I believe (counter)terrorism squads are, but that’s about as far as it goes.


Hm, guess I learned something new today.

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I agree, but in fact this is like, the fourth one you’ve heard about. There were several newspaper articles about a month ago that, following a ‘freedom of information’ [FOI] request, reported that there had been either 750 or 2000 cases of police being investigated for sexual “misconduct” in the last 4 years. Here is an example citing 600 since 2018: Rape, assault, harassment among sexual misconduct allegations made against 600 police staff

I understand the concern that people should be being protected by the police, and of course these figures are unacceptable. I won’t try and pretend otherwise. It’s just that when I see new threads being posted I wonder how they relate to @prostasia’s goals or principles, and whether anything can be gained from simply being outraged or angry at something.

I feel sure that it could be in this case, but I don’t think it would be along the lines of calling for defunding* the police, and it certainly wouldn’t be a suggestion that we should treat the law less seriously because of the behaviour of a certain number of “bent coppers”.

Perhaps another consideration in response to some reports of this nature; sometimes it might be fabricated. This not so much the case on this story, as there is mention of evidence of possession of CSAM. However, the other case you started a thread on has hardly any concrete information and could possibly be someone making it up. - I’m simply saying that it’s not unheard of for someone with no scruples to make a complaint, either to deflect from their own criminal behaviour, or simply because they hate the police and have a personal grudge. This could happen to anyone, true, but it is reasonable to suggest that police officers may be more vulnerable to this tactic.

(*My spellcheck wants to change this to ‘defending’.)