A former Kent Police officer received a suspended prison sentence despite having child abuse content in his possession at the time of his arrest.
Thomas Blant, 38, a former police constable, was sentenced to one year in prison, suspended for two years. Blant admitted that he had used the Tor browser to access child abuse content.
[DNL Note: The NCA claims they identified that Blant was using Tor to access a CSA wesbite. How did they associate his Tor traffic with his home I.P. address? ]
Investigators with the National Crime Agency (NCA) established that someone using an I.P. address associated with Blant’s home was accessing a child pornography site via Tor. Police raided his home on January 19, 2020. During the raid, investigators seized several electronic devices including Blant’s phone and laptop.
Police questioned Blant and his wife. Blant’s wife provided the police that she had been working at the time the child abuse site had been accessed. After hearing this, the police released her. The police learned that Blant was off-duty on the day the site had been accessed. Police arrested Blant. Kent Police suspended Blant after his arrest. He had worked as a constable for six years.
While analyzing Blant’s laptop, investigators found the Tor Browser Bundle and a so-called “computer cleaning application.” Investigators recovered 17 category A and C child abuse images from the laptop. They found four more images on one of Blant’s phones.
Blant pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of child abuse images at the Folkestone Magistrates Court on July 22, 2021. The guilty plea resulted in his dismissal from the Kent Police.
Blant appeared before Judge Philip Statman at Maidstone Crown Court on October 6, 2021, for his sentencing hearing. He was sentenced to one year in prison suspended for two years. Judge Statman also ordered a five-year sexual harm prevention order and placed him on the sex offenders register for 10 years.
Speaking following Blant’s sentence NCA’s Martin Ludlow said:
“Blant’s offending is an outrageous misuse of trust. His role as a police officer was to protect the public. Instead, he sought out images of child abuse for his sexual gratification. Offenders who view such material online only encourage those willing to sexually abuse children in the real world. Combating this threat remains one of the highest priorities for the NCA. We are committed to targeting the most dangerous offenders and those who, like Blant, go to great lengths to hide their activity, believing they can operate with impunity online. As this investigation shows, there is nowhere to hide. We will use all of the tools at our disposal to identify those who pose a sexual threat to children and ensure they are brought to justice.”