The police officers who investigated a Northamptonshire teenager convicted of threatening an attack on his school have won an award.
Det Chief Inspector Mark Behan from Northampton CID, and the group of detectves he led, scooped the the Best Major Crime award at The Investigator’s Excellence in Investigations Awards following the investigation into the 16-year-old.
In February 2012, Northamptonshire Police were contacted by the FBI, via the Metropolitan Police, about a person at an address in the county who had posted online threats to carry out an attack on a secondary school.
The teenager’s home was raided and a number of replica firearms and airguns were seized. Chemicals that could be mixed to make an explosion were also found. A second search of the property also found the makings of a pipe bomb.
While examining a computer seized from the house, officers also discovered significant numbers of indecent pseudo-images.
CI Behan said: “It is always nice to be honoured for the work we do.
“This was a particularly complex and sensitive investigation which had a huge impact on the community in which the boy lived.
“Clearly, the nature of some of the evidence discovered as part of the investigation caused great concern and so it was vital that we worked closely with the school to ensure they were kept up-to-date with our enquiries and were able to provide support to the students involved.
“I would like to reassure people in Northamptonshire that we do take their security extremely seriously and this case shows that we can and do act quickly and decisively when required to do so.
“This has been a unique investigation for us, and I must take this opportunity to thank the team of officers involved for their tenacity in what has been an extremely complex piece of work.”
The teenager was charged with three offences in December 2012; two terrorism offences and one of being in possession of prohibited images of children. At 16, he was the youngest person ever to be charged with terrorism offences in the UK.
In March 2013 the boy, who attended the threatened school, pleaded guilty to the charges and was ordered to remain in secure accommodation by the court.
Restrictions set by the court mean the teenager, the school he attended or where he now lives cannot be reported.