Police Now detective puts prolific offenders behind bars
Thursday 22nd June 2023
Detective Constable Matt Beavis, who joined Avon and Somerset Police in 2021 as an officer on Police Now’s National Detective Programme, led a successful investigation to convict a man found in possession of over 1,300 indecent images. He was also the Officer in Charge of a Domestic Abuse case, where his exceptional victim support led to new and non-recent offences being disclosed and resulted in several charges against the violent offender, who is now serving time behind bars.
He tells us about these two key investigations, his time as a Police Now detective and his new role in Operation Bluestone.
Detective Constable Matt Beavis, Avon and Somerset Police
“After completing Police Now’s National Detective Programme academy training in 2021, I spent some time on the Response team and in the Detainee Investigation Team before I joined Bristol’s Criminal Investigation Department.
“The first investigation that I worked as Officer in Charge on was an indecent image case; we received a referral from an external agency, about a man who had sent an indecent image of a child to someone on social media. We conducted a suspect interview and executed a search warrant, seizing several digital devices. Upon investigating the devices, we found just over 1,300 indecent images. The offender was charged with possession of indecent images and originally pleaded not guilty, but thanks to the strong evidence we collated, he changed his plea to guilty and was convicted in court in February this year.
“I also recently supported a victim of Domestic Abuse, whose partner had a long history of violence against her and others. The offender was arrested, after a short police pursuit, for threatening her with a machete and causing criminal damage to property. While he was in custody I reviewed previous charges against him, which included Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH) and Actual Bodily Harm (ABH). These previous charges had been dropped as the victim had been scared and reluctant to support a police investigation. I was determined to secure justice for her this time and built a relationship of trust between us, so she felt able and supported enough to press charges. I visited her multiple times and did my best to address all her concerns and ensure she had support in place, for example through an Independent Domestic Violence Advisor and through working with the Housing Agency to relocate her to a safer place.
“We were able to pursue the new and non-recent offences that were disclosed to us and secured charges against the offender. He was found guilty of GBH, ABH, criminal damage and two counts of possession of a bladed article. He was remanded for nine months in prison during the investigation then sentenced to a further 42 months. He has been served with an indefinite restraining order, a weapon destruction order and was ordered to provide the victim with compensation. The victim read out a powerful statement in court – she did so well under pressure after having been abused for so long. Thanks to her bravery in supporting our police investigation, she helped us put a dangerous man behind bars and protect others who might have otherwise become victims too.
“Being a detective is incredibly challenging, but investigating complex cases, securing justice for victims and protecting the community makes it a rewarding and worthwhile career. I graduated from Police Now’s two-year programme in April, alongside almost 160 other officers nationally who began their training with me. I recently worked alongside one of those officers in a neighbouring force, to help investigate an offender with a long string of serious sexual offences across the country who is now serving time in prison thanks to her work. It’s amazing to see what we can achieve across our network and how far we’ve all come in just over two years.
“I am now tutoring four trainee detective constables in Avon and Somerset Police who are in the process of becoming accredited detectives, and I have recently moved to ‘Operation Bluestone’ where I continue to investigate sexual assault and rape cases.
“Operation Bluestone is a national initiative which sees a collaboration with police officers and academics to increase data and conduct further research into rape and serious sexual assault cases. We provide recommendations on how to improve victim support and engagement and provide suspect-focused investigations, to positively change the way that the police deal with rape investigations. I am excited to be a part of a new and innovative project, to work towards increasing charge rates against sexual offenders and building public confidence in the service for victims of crime who need our help.”