Boy, 14, on police database for sexting
A 14-year-old British boy says he has been added to a police database after he sent a naked image of himself by Snapchat to a female classmate.
The pupil, whose identity has not been made public, is said to have sent the explicit image from his bedroom while “flirting” with a girl of the same age, who then shared it with others.
He was later told the incident was added to his file on the police’s national database after the image came to the attention of a police officer based at the school, in the north of England.
The file remains active for a minimum of 10 years, meaning potential employers conducting an advanced Criminal Records Bureau check could be told.
The incident, deemed an example of “sexting”, has been recorded as a crime of making and distributing an indecent image, the boy’s mother told BBC Radio 4’s Today program, even though he was not arrested or charged.
The boy said he was “embarrassed” by the incident and now spends lunchtimes in the library to avoid being teased by classmates who have seen the image.
He said: “I shouldn’t have done it. It’s just annoying really, something that I did when I was 14 could reflect badly in future.”
It is not clear whether a similar police file was created for the girl who received and shared the image, or what action was taken against her.
People who have found indecent or explicit images of themselves shared or posted on the internet have routinely been treated as victims rather than aggressors since the introduction of a revenge porn law in April.
The boy’s mother told Today: “I think at best he was naive and at worst he was just a teenager.
“It (sending the image) is referred to as sexting, and apparently it happens all the time. It is just how teenagers flirt these days.”
Responding to the incident, the Home Office said it was “the responsibility of individual police forces” to accurately record crimes in accordance with strict counting rules.