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Friday, 13 September, 2002, 11:00 GMT 12:00 UK
Extra time to quiz Soham officer
Police outside Detective Constable Brian Stevens' house
Brian Stevens was one of four family liaison officers
An officer who supported Jessica Chapman's parents during the police investigation into her death can be questioned for an extra 12 hours on suspicion of child pornography offences.

Detective Constable Brian Stevens, a family liaison officer who worked with the Chapman family during the Soham double murder investigation, was arrested at 0700 BST on Thursday along with another Cambridgeshire officer.

They can now be held until early on Friday evening.

Detective Constable Brian Stevens
Brian Stevens read a poem at the memorial service

DC Stevens read out a poem at the memorial service for Jessica, and her best friend Holly Wells.

Internet

The other officer, who has not been named, also worked on the inquiry into the 10-year-old girls' deaths.

Jessica's parents, Leslie and Sharon, were told of the arrests straight away, but police stressed there was no connection with the investigation into their daughter's death.

Jessica and Holly's families, from Soham in Cambridgeshire, released a joint statement in which they said they still had confidence in the inquiry.

Mr Stevens was one of four family liaison officers made available to the families 24-hours-a-day, from the time Holly and Jessica went missing on 4 August.


This does not affect our view of the credibility of the police investigation

Families' statement
Sources said that he and the second officer were arrested as part of Operation Ore, an investigation into child pornography on the internet.

UK police have been targeting alleged users of pay-per-view child pornography websites based in the United States, leading to 36 arrests in May.

The officers were arrested on suspicion of inciting others to distribute indecent photographs of children - an offence contrary to common law.

Operation Ore is the UK wing of a huge FBI operation, codenamed Operation Candyman, which has so far identified thousands of internet paedophile suspects around the world.

Statement

Cambridgeshire's Acting Deputy Chief Constable Keith Hoddy - the man in charge of the Holly and Jessica operation - made the decision to call in an outside force to investigate.

Det Con Brian Stevens (far right) with the Chapman family
Brian Stevens supported the Chapman family
West Midlands Police agreed to carry out the investigation, which is being supervised by the Police Complaints Authority.

Both officers were arrested at their Cambridgeshire homes.

The officers were stationed at the force headquarters at Hinchingbrooke Park, Huntingdon.

'Credibility'

After the arrests were made, the families of Jessica and Holly said: "We have been informed of today's developments by police.

"This does not affect our view of the credibility of the police investigation.

"We will not be making any further comment."

The girls vanished from their home in Soham, Cambridgeshire, on the late afternoon of Sunday, 4 August.

Their decomposed bodies were eventually found in a remote ditch near RAF Lakenheath, Suffolk, on 17 August.

Ian Huntley, 28, is currently under arrest, charged with the murders of Holly and Jessica and perverting the course of justice.

Doctors at the Rampton high security psychiatric hospital are assessing his mental condition.

His fiancée Maxine Carr, 25, is in custody charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice.

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 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Lisa Hampele
"It's been stressed that there is no link to the inquiry into what happened to the two girls"

Click here to go to Cambridgeshire

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Background

IN PICTURES
See also:

12 Sep 02 | England
05 Sep 02 | England
04 Sep 02 | Politics
30 Aug 02 | England
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