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First Minister ‘concerned’ by revenge porn detection rate

Nicola Sturgeon said the government brought in the new law to tackle the ‘damaging’ impact of sharing intimate images without consent.

Nicola Sturgeon has said she is “concerned” by the police detection rate for so-called revenge porn cases in Scotland.

She said there is “still work to be done” in tackling the crime, involving intimate pictures or video of a person being shared online without their consent, and said laws made must be able to be “effectively used”.

The police detection rate for cases is at 39% since a new law covering disclosing images without consent or threats to do so came into force last summer.

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Images from a campaign on the new law (Scottish Government/PA)

The figures, obtained by the BBC through freedom of information, cover July to December 2017.

Police Scotland received 225 complaints in that time, with 89 classified as detected or ready to be referred to the courts.

SNP MP Christina McKelvie, who campaigned for the new law, raised the issue at First Minister’s Questions.

She asked: “Can the First Minister tell us how her government will respond to reports this week that less than half of revenge porn cases are actually passed to prosecutors?”

Ms Sturgeon said: “I, of course, like Christina McKelvie, was concerned at the statistics we saw this week.

“The investigation of the offence, of course, is for Police Scotland and prosecution is for the Crown Office.

“We know there are particular complexities for the police in prosecuting offences committed using internet services often hosted in foreign jurisdiction and the rate of prosecution for these offences in Scotland is broadly similar to that we see in England and Wales.

“The message I took from these statistics that we saw this week … is while putting laws in place is important, making sure that these laws can effectively be used is what matters most and I think these statistics tell us that there is still work to be done on this important issue.”

She added: “The impact of sharing intimate images without consent can be hugely damaging and there is absolutely no place for that in our society.

“That’s why we brought forward legislation for a specific offence of sharing or threatening to share intimate images without consent and that offence has a maximum penalty on conviction of five years’ imprisonment.”

Detective Superintendent Gordon McCreadie has said the force is “content” with the detection rate of 39% since it is in line with the UK average.

He stressed the investigations could be “very complex”.

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