Cops issue ‘sexting’ warning to pupils

Students at Glossopdale Community College watching 'Betrayal'.
Students at Glossopdale Community College watching 'Betrayal'.

A film highlighting the dangers of sexting has been shown to school pupils as part of a pilot scheme.

The feature film, titled Betrayal, saw officers from the Glossop and Hadfield beats teaming up with students at Stockport College to produce, direct and star in an educational drama.

Betrayal follows the lives of a young couple who find themselves in an unfortunate situation after sharing illicit images over text message and social media. The film carries a serious and hard-hitting message to highlight the dangers and consequences of sexting.

Safer neighbourhood officers have recently piloted the Betrayal project at Glossopdale Community College.

The policing team also visited year nine pupils at St Philip Howard Catholic Voluntary Academy to raise the issue of sexting and the serious consequences that come with it.

After the group was shown the feature film, Inspector Barry Doyle and PC Julian Gallagher spoke about the issue in more detail before hosting a quiz to test the teenagers’ knowledge.

Section Inspector Barry Doyle from the Glossop Safer Neighbourhood Team said: “Section 45 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 states that it is an offence to take, distribute, show or possess indecent images of a person below the age of 18.

“As social media expands at an alarming rate young people are either criminalising themselves, becoming the victims of crime or quite often both.

“They are unwittingly committing crime and they are also making themselves extremely vulnerable to exploitation. This is real and this is happening.

“Children and young people don’t realise that what they are doing is illegal and that once the images are out there they will never go away. The Betrayal project aims to raise awareness of the issue and it is fantastic to see this being piloted in local schools.”

Mr Hawkins, head of PSHE at St Philip Howard Catholic Voluntary Academy, said: “It was a good opportunity for our students to reflect on the longer term impact one moment of madness can cause. The legal implications were explained in detail – many students did not understand this before the workshop.

“The students were also surprised how many people can be affected when an illegal image is sent electronically when the police seize phones and iPads from all those who viewed the image.”

Head teacher Mrs Morris added: “This is an issue that is becoming more prevalent for the young people in our community and so we were delighted to be given the opportunity to work with Glossop’s Safer Neighbourhood Team.

“The session most definitely raised awareness with the students and we are all looking forward to continuing this partnership as the programme continues to develop.”

For information and support call ChildLine on 0800 1111 or visit www.childline.org.uk/Explore/OnlineSafety/Pages/Sexting.aspx