A former police sergeant who asked an undercover officer ‘to share’ a ten-year-old girl with him has been deemed a ‘serious harm to children’.
Paul Bucknall, 52, chatted sexually online to two undercover police officers posing as parents between September and December 2019.
The offences took place at Cathcart Police Station in Glasgow and at his home in Cumbernauld, North Lanarkshire.
Bucknall’s messages included asking one of the officers if they would like to “share” her ten-year-old daughter she was posing as a parent of.
The first offender pled guilty at Glasgow Sheriff Court to two charges under the Communications Act.
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.
“The report states that this would not be addressed in prison.
“A Community Payback Order is the best approach to protect society from you and ultimately, at the end of the day, to cure you of the psychological condition you have.”
Bucknall was ordered to undertake 225 hours of unpaid work. He was also put under supervision and placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for two years. He will also have restricted access to children under 16.
Bucknall will continue to be allowed access to computer equipment, which must be available to access upon request.
The hearing was earlier told Bucknall 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 ten-year-old girl.
Prosecutor Jennifer Sillars said: “Bucknall believed he was contacting the mother of the ten-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 ten-year-old girl.”
Bucknall referred to himself as ‘Paul’ and passed his own mobile number to the officer.
The court then heard that Bucknall using the name ‘CorniePerv50UK’ chatted with another undercover officer on the Chat Avenue website named ‘Lee’.
The officer told Bucknall that he had eight-year-old and two-year-old children.
Ms Sillars said: “Bucknall expressed sexual interest in the children through the conversation.”
The offences led to Bucknall’s home being raided after a warrant was granted.
Bucknall was arrested and gave a no comment interview.
Pamela Rodgers, defending, told the court Bucknall has lost his wife, two children and his granddaughter.
The lawyer added: “He had to resign from Police Scotland and lost £60,000 from his pension because he resigned short of his retirement date and has suffered from his actions.”
Bucknall, who now lives in Rotherham, continues to have the support of his mother and sister whose references were passed to Sheriff McKay at the beginning of the hearing.
STV News is now on WhatsApp
Get all the latest news from around the countryFollow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp
Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country