October 2021

Ex-police sergeant put on sex offenders register

A former police sergeant has been described as having a high risk of “causing serious harm to children” after he was caught in an undercover sting.

Paul Bucknall chatted sexually online to two undercover police officers posing as parents.

Bucknall’s messages included asking one of the officers if she would like to “share” a 10-year-old girl.

The 52-year-old pled guilty to two charges under the Communications Act.

Glasgow Sheriff Court heard the offences took place between September and December 2019 at a police station in the city and Bucknall’s then home in Cumbernauld, North Lanarkshire.

He was ordered to do 225 hours of unpaid work and put under supervision, as well as being placed on the sex offenders register for two years.

The first offender has also been restricted access to children under the age of 16.

The charge states that Bucknall’s messages were “grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character”.

Sheriff Allan McKay said: “I don’t need to tell you these offences are serious. They are repeated and committed over a period of time. The location in which they were committed is also a concern to me.

“Your background report indicates that you lacked insight into the effect of the offending and that you have adopted a psychologically detached condition.

“The report says this condition presents as a high risk of causing serious harm to children and you have to address that.”

Bucknall will continue to be allowed access to computer equipment which must be available to access upon request.

The hearing was earlier told he had joined the Chat Avenue website with the username “Purdeman50UK”.

He began communicating with an undercover officer named “Gemma” who stated she was the mother of a 10-year-old girl.

Prosecutor Jennifer Sillars said: “Bucknall believed he was contacting the mother of the 10-year-old girl.

“He expressed highly graphical sexual comments including he had no age limits and asking Gemma if she would like to share her in reference to the 10-year-old girl.”

Bucknall referred to himself as Paul and passed his own mobile number to the officer.

The offences led to his home being raided after a warrant was granted.

He was arrested and gave a “no comment” interview.