Exclusive: Ex-detective admits string of child porn offences

West Yorkshire Police HQ
West Yorkshire Police HQ
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A FORMER West Yorkshire detective who continued to work for the force as a civilian investigator has pleaded guilty to a string of child pornography offences.

Michael Vause, who was working for West Yorkshire’s professional standards department at the time of his arrest, admitted 11 counts of making indecent images of children. He has since resigned his position with the force.

West Yorkshire Police said the case showed all offenders would be brought before the courts, regardless of whether they were police staff.

Vause had more than 30 years experience as a police officer before taking retirement and returning as a civilian member of staff.

West Yorkshire Police said none of the offences were connected to his work with professional standards – which is the department that investigates allegations of wrongdoing against police.

Vause declined to comment when approached at his home at Wentbridge, near Pontefract.

It is understood he may avoid a prison sentence after magistrates decided his sentencing would remain in a magistrates court rather than being referred up to crown court.

Vause pleaded guilty at Huddersfield Magistrates’ Court and had his sentencing adjourned until July 5 at the same court.

A spokeswoman for West Yorkshire Police said the images in 10 of the 11 counts against Vause were considered level one, which is the lowest of the five levels legally designated to cover indecent images of children.

Level one typically involves images of children without sexual activity. The other count was at the more serious level three, which involves images depicting sexual activity between adults and children.

In a statement, West Yorkshire Police said: “These are very serious matters which have been investigated by West Yorkshire Police’s Child and Public Protection Unit.

“The member of police staff was immediately suspended from duty when the allegations came to light and has since resigned from West Yorkshire Police.

“The allegations were totally unconnected with his work.”

The statement added: “West Yorkshire Police take all allegations of this nature very seriously and ensure that all offenders – whoever they may be – are brought before the courts.”

The force said Vause was suspended on May 1, when the allegations first came to light.

He pleaded guilty at his first appearance in court on Thursday and is on unconditional bail until sentencing next month.

Vause was previously commended for outstanding work as a detective based at Pontefract CID.

In 2002, he and a colleague were runners-up for the force’s annual Denis Hoban Trophy. The award, in memory of the late Det Chief Supt Denis Hoban, former head of Leeds CID, recognises outstanding detective work.

The citation said their “commitment and professionalism” investigating serious crime, using a range of detective skills and techniques, had a “positive impact” on community safety in Wakefield.

Vause subsequently moved to the professional standards department before retiring as a serving officer after more than 30 years service then returning to the same department as a civilian investigator.