A former Salford Police detective has pleaded guilty to multiple child sex offences and misconduct in public office.

On Tuesday 23rd November, disgraced ex-copper Lee Cunliffe entered a guilty plea at Liverpool Crown Court.

Cunliffe, 40, from Bolton, is a former Detective Constable in the Criminal Investigation Department in GMP’s Salford district.

He has admitted to one count of attempting to arrange the commission of a child sex offence, three counts of making an indecent photograph of a child, one count of distributing an indecent picture of a child, one count of misconduct in a public office and one count of perverting the course of public justice.

Police response

GMP’s Deputy Chief Constable, Terry Woods, said: “Lee Cunliffe’s actions are inexcusable and have undermined the very essence of policing’s core value of protecting the public and helping those in need.

“I want to be clear that he does not reflect the vast majority of our officers who come to work each day and conduct themselves with the utmost professionalism and commitment to serving the people of Greater Manchester.

“I would encourage our officers, staff and the public to report any actions which breach our professional standards.”

The details

In September 2020, Cunliffe logged onto an online chat room with someone he believed to be a mother with an eight-year-old child.

Later revealed to be an undercover police officer.

During the exchange, Cunliffe made numerous attempts to arrange to meet up with mother and child in London and sent detailed, inappropriate messages.

Officers then searched his home address and seized his devices.

Upon inspection, these devices found that Cunliffe sent messages to the Undercover Officer from his work Swinton, as well as his home address.

Indecent images and videos were also found on his devices.

The sting’s operative passed their findings to GMP on Friday, 2nd October.

Officers arrested their shamed colleague later that day with an investigation launched. 

He has remained suspended from duty since his arrest.

Knock-on effects

During the inquiry, GMP carried out urgent reviews of his role as a DC in other investigations.

This included a report of distributing sexual images allocated to him as the officer in the case. 

In that particular case, digital forensics confirmed sexual images were present on seized devices.

Cunliffe closed the case, claiming that there was “nothing on either device.”

When will he be sentenced?

Cunliffe is due back in Liverpool Crown Court on 12th January for sentencing. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *