The South Wales Police investigation started when officers received intelligence about suspicious online activity, involving the downloading of indecent images of children from the dark web.
The offender was confirmed as 23-year-old Lewis Edwards from Bridgend and identified as a serving police officer.
Following his arrest, Edwards was immediately suspended from duty and resigned. An accelerated misconduct hearing was held which delivered the sanction of dismissal. He has been added to the barred list, preventing him from returning to policing.
Edwards has since been charged with a total of 106 offences which include inciting children to make indecent images online and to engage in sexual activity. He has appeared at Cardiff Crown Court where he pleaded guilty. South Wales Police say their investigation is ongoing and specialist officers are continuing to support and update his victims.
Detective Superintendent Tracey Rankine, head of the Police Online Investigation Team, said: “The scale and seriousness of the offences uncovered by our investigation is extreme and our priority has been to identify his victims and work with police forces across the UK to ensure they are safeguarded and supported.
“His abhorrent behaviour involved threatening and blackmailing his young victims who lived in fear of him. Our investigation has involved forensically examining encrypted computer equipment and mobile devices which led to the recovery of shocking material. The strength of this evidence has resulted in him admitting the charges against him.”
Assistant Chief Constable Danny Richards said:“The public will be as shocked and sickened as I am that such appalling offences have been committed by a serving police officer. The behaviour of Lewis Edwards only serves to damage the public’s trust and confidence in policing and undermines the work of the vast majority of responsible, hard-working police officers who serve the communities of South Wales with courage and pride.
“As soon as it came to light that Edwards was a serving police officer, he was suspended and accelerated misconduct proceedings were brought against him which led to him being dismissed and barred from returning to policing.
“There is no place in South Wales Police for anyone who abuses the personal responsibility they hold as a police officer. We work hard to ensure that vetting systems are effective and the force was recently only one of two in the country to be assessed as good by His Majesty’s Inspectorate for the way we carry out vetting of officers and staff, how effectively we protect information and data we hold and how well corruption is dealt with.
“Our number one priority is to protect the public so if anyone has any information about the safety of young or vulnerable people or those who pose a risk in our society then I urge them to come forward and report it to us.”
Council appoints new Copr Bay contractor
Enforcement officers issue 600 penalty notices in just over a month targetting environment crime
Housebuilder launches consultation on 500-home zero-carbon ready scheme in Pontarddulais
Landmark anniversary for club which provides support for young burns victims
Former Penlan district housing office transformed into flats
Council issues ‘call for sites’ as it looks to build new development plan
Triple injury blow for Swans ahead of Millwall clash
Baked beans lead the way as the favourite kitchen staple in Wales but items once found in grandparents’ cupboards are dying out
Birth centre and home birth services to be reinstated after £750,000 investment
Swansea-based local energy company generates £35k benefit for community
New Trade Park set to open in Llansamlet
Rhossili named among world’s best beaches
Port Talbot and Morriston Wilko stores first to shut as administrator announces 52 closures
Administrators announce closure dates for Wilko stores in Bridgend, Maesteg and Llanelli
Closure dates announced for Wilko stores in Swansea, Neath and Carmarthen
Poundland to buy 71 Wilko stores – including Pembroke Dock and Ammanford
Melyn Musical Theatre Company celebrates 100th anniversary with spectacular, sold-out Centenary show ‘Kinky Boots’
Poundstretcher to open new Llansamlet store
Swansea Ex-Royal Navy Engineer celebrates first year in business after return to city
Car parking to get more expensive in Neath Port Talbot after councillors agree raft of increases
Arts and Entertainment4 days ago
Bronze statue of entertainer Max Boyce is set to be unveiled at his beloved Glynneath
South Wales Police4 days ago
Man charged with murder after Sketty Lane car fire incident
Rugby5 days ago
Wales 40-6 Australia: Wonderful Wales hammer Australia to seal last eight spot
Business5 days ago
B&M’s ‘bigger and better’ Llanelli store a hit with shoppers on opening weekend
Glynneath5 days ago
Council asks for views on Pontneddfechan development at gateway to waterfalls
Music3 days ago
Shaun Ryder – rock’n’roll wild man heads to Port Talbot as part of major UK tour
Football7 days ago
Swans ease pressure on Duff with Sheffield Wednesday victory
Rugby3 days ago
Gilpin cast’s doubts over Rugby World Cup free-to-air future coverage