(File photo)

17 child pornography investigations are being conducted across West Shore communities, according to West Shore RCMP.

The investigations are all at varying stages, ranging from preliminary efforts where suspects are still being identified, to cases that are nearly completed.

“Some have already gone to court for trial,” said Cst. Nancy Saggar of the West Shore RCMP.

Investigations of this nature are lengthy and resource heavy, Saggar told Victoria Buzz, explaining why nearly 20 cases are active at once. While the investigations are being conducted, police do not believe there is an increased risk to West Shore residents.

“In many cases the victims have already been identified years ago, but the photos have been recirculated through the internet,” Saggar said. “But then if someone accesses the photo later, a whole new investigation is started.”

“We don’t have 17 different victims, we have 17 files.”

New cases receive priority

West Shore RCMP says that if a case were to emerge that involved someone creating new child pornogrophy, or greater endangered the public, that new incident would take priority.

“Our main priority is public safety so if there was a case where we had a victim that hadn’t been identified or we had somebody that was actively creating new content — which would mean someone is being abused — that would be our number one priority,” said Saggar.

“Right now we don’t have a situation like that at play.”

When comparing the amount of child pornogrphy cases in the West Shore to other communities, Saggar believes that the number of investigations is relatively on par.

“We don’t feel that we are disproportionate compared to other jurisdictions of a similar size,” she said.

The majority of these cases were started after Canada’s national RCMP Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) service sent leads to the West Shore, a process that occurs at almost every detachment.

“Basically what happens is we get information from ICE, that they’re able to identify through their own systems, about IP addresses that spend a specific amount of time or visit illegal content online,” she said.

“If it happens in our area then it becomes one of our investigations. That’s where by and large these [cases] are coming from.”