February 2023

Police paedophile jailed for sexual communication with child

A former student police officer who sent sexual messages and explicit images of himself to a nine-year-old girl online has been jailed for four years.

Jason Hicks, aged 31, also persuaded the victim into sending him intimate photos – and tried to do the same with four other children.

The offences were uncovered while Hicks, of Bishopsteignton, was in training to be a Devon and Cornwall Police officer.

He was immediately arrested and suspended and subsequently dismissed without notice

Officers found more than 1,200 indecent images and videos of children on his laptop, iPad and other digital devices seized when a warrant was carried out at his home.

Hicks fully admitted offences dating back to 2012 in his first police interview – telling detectives he felt relieved to have been caught. 

He pleaded guilty to a total of 13 charges and was sentenced at Exeter Crown Court today (Feb 2).

Hicks admitted engaging in sexual communication with a child – a nine-year-old girl from the South West – and inciting her to engage in sexual activity between March and April 2021.

He had befriended the girl online by posing as an older teenager on TikTok before moving onto Snapchat and exchanging sexually explicit messages with her. 

The child’s parents discovered she had been communicating with an adult male and contacted police in their area.

Enquiries and research later led officers to Hicks in Devon, who was at the time a student police officer and was still in training school. He had not yet conducted any public-facing, frontline duties.

Devon and Cornwall Police’s Paedophile Online Investigation Team and Professional Standards Department urgently planned and executed a warrant at Hicks’s home on 20 January 2022.

He was dismissed without notice following fast-tracked misconduct proceedings in February 2022 and has been placed on the College of Policing Barred List.

Hicks was convicted of a further four counts of attempting to engage in sexual communication with children and another four of attempting to incite them to engage in sexual activity

He exchanged sexual Snapchat messages with four children he believed were aged between 11 and 13 between December 2021 and January 2022.

The victims have never been identified despite the best efforts of investigating officers. Analysis linked their IP addresses to the USA, Sweden and the Yorkshire area. 

Hicks also pleaded guilty to three charges of making indecent photographs of children between September 2012 and January 2022. 

The images and videos found on his devices involved children as young as eight and included 127 in the most severe ‘Category A’.

Hicks was also issued with a ten-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order and the judge ordered the destruction of his digital devices.  

He will serve three years on licence if he is deemed safe for release from prison after four years.