PPA Western Prefecture sets up child sex abuse task force

Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) patrol car (picture is illustrative).
Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) patrol car (picture is illustrative). Source: PPA

The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) is responding to a reported rise in sexual crimes against minors within the jurisdiction of its Western Prefecture, by setting up a dedicated investigative team.

The PPA's Western Prefecture's area includes Pärnu, Estonia's fourth-largest town.

The five-member group was formed to investigate sexual crimes committed against minors which, as a separate body, should ensure a efficient, faster and more child-friendly procedure for victims, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported Sunday.

Margus Raspel, the PPA Western Prefecture chief, said that: "This does not mean that in the past these ugly crimes had gone unnoticed within the Western Prefecture's jurisdiction. They were also investigated then, by trained investigators, at PPA stations."

"However, these investigators carried out the work in addition to their other tasks in investigating different types of crimes. In the same way, shoplifting cases, drink driving and so on could also be simultaneously on their desks," Raspel told AK.

Forty-one sexual 41 sexual crimes against minors were registered by the PPA's Western Prefecture last year, a rise of nine on the previous year.

Raili Pärn, who previously worked in the drug and organized crime PPA group and now heads up the newly-formed child protection group said: "I'm not afraid as such, but the field is a difficult and complicated one. Those people who deal with this topic must have a big heart, and you can't let everything get to you."

"As of now, we are taking over procedures that the investigators in the Pärnu district have been handling. There are about five or six cases in total here. The rest are still pending in the other districts. But all new cases that arise, will come to us, cross the Western Prefecture," Pärn added.

The investigative group would include personnel from Tallinn, Margus Raspel said, as well as officers who had worked as investigators in Pärnu.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Barbara Oja

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