FOI date
FOI reference
FOI 1711564/23

We received a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA):

I am making the following request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in order to facilitate a piece of academic research. Can you please provide me with the following information: 
For the following time period:
a. 2019 
b. 2020 
c. 2021 
1. How many individuals under the age of 18 have been dealt with by means of 'Outcome 21' (per the Home Office counting rules) for any offence relating to consensual child sexting
2. How many individuals under the age of 18 have been dealt with by means of community resolution for any offence relating to consensual child sexting.
3. How many individuals under the age of 18 have been deal with by means of a simple or conditional caution for any offence relating to consensual child sexting.
4. How many individuals under the age of 18 have been charged with any offence relating to consensual child sexting.
For clarity, references above to 'consensual child sexting' refer to any offence under s.1 of the Protection of Children Act 1978 or s.160 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 committed (or alleged against) a child where the subject of the indecent image made, distributed or possessed consents to the offence and is also a child. At the material times, such offences were 'counted' under Home Office Counting Rules as offences 86/02 and 86/10.



Our Response:

Please see the below table showing information relating to your request. 

Take/make/distribute/possess indecent photographs of children, offender under 18, 01/01/2019 to 31/12/2021

Crime outcome












Community resolution




Further investigation not in public interest




Diversionary, educational or intervention activity





Information represents the number of crimes recorded during the period which:
- were not subsequently cancelled
- were classified as one of the following offences:
      086/02 Take/make/distribute indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of children,
      086/10 Possession of an indecent or pseudo-photograph of a child.
- had one or more offenders linked who were aged under 18 at the time of the offence,
- resulted in one of the listed outcomes (as at 13/07/2023).
Information is subject to further investigation, reclassification and cancellation, and may therefore change over time.
Crime classifications based on Home Office Counting Rules for Recorded Crime: Home Office Crime Recording Rules for frontline officers & staff - GOV.UK (

West Yorkshire Police treat the taking, making or distribution of an indecent image of a child very seriously.

The nature of offending varies and includes offences involving self-generated images or images obtained with consent by other children.
West Yorkshire Police follow national guidance around the use of Outcome 21 (Further investigation, resulting from the crime report, which could provide evidence sufficient to support formal action being taken against the suspect is not in the public interest – police decision) which provides for forces to resolve crimes with the appropriate contextual factors in a proportionate and effective way. 

West Yorkshire Police consider the individual circumstances of each case in terms of public interest and victim’s wishes as well as whether criminal justice processes are necessary and proportionate considering the long-term impact of an investigation and prosecution, such as labelling a child a ‘sex offender’ and potential disclosure as part of a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) process.

All investigations involving child victims of sexual abuse, regardless of the age of the person responsible, are dealt within a multi-agency environment, involving our external partners, particularly Social Services. This approach allows not only for the most effective investigation but ensures appropriate Safeguarding measures are considered for any child deemed to be at risk. 

In addition to outcomes requested individuals, in conjunction with partners, may also be dealt with through Outcome 22, i.e. Diversionary, educational or intervention activity.

West Yorkshire Police strives to treat all victims equally, ensuring that they receive the best possible care from our officers and staff. The force works closely with partner agencies to safeguard victims, ensuring they have access to any specialist support services that they require.