FRIDAY, JULY 6: A 12-month jail sentence for a trainee police officer convicted of child porn charges was not long enough, according to a childrens’ rights campaigner.

Sheelagh Cooper of the Coalition for the Protection of Children questioned whether a year would be long enough to ensure that shamed Paul Boorman got suitable treatment behind bars.

Ms Cooper said: “Clearly, this person has a major psychiatric problem or he wouldn’t be engaged in watching this kind of material. In order not to be a danger going forward, he needs treatment. The question is if he can get the treatment he needs in less than a year. I’m not sure, but I don’t think so.

“That should be the measuring stick for any sentencing of a sexual offender.”

She added: “The issue of deterrence has to be taken into account as well – you want to send a message to the community that not only is this kind of behaviour unacceptable sexual offending, but that children have been exploited to make that material – that is the real crime here. He was a police officer to boot.”

She was speaking after Boorman, 44, who had served in the Reserve Police since 2004, was jailed earlier this week at Supreme Court.

Boorman pleaded guilty to 14 counts of accessing child porn – which included more than 130 images and videos showing children involved in explicit sexual activity. A number of the images — if the UK scale of one to five had been applied — were at the top end of the scale, which is taken into consideration in sentencing in the UK.

The offences were committed at Boorman’s Paget home between November 2008 and October 2009. He was also ordered to carry out three years probation after he has completed his sentence.

The sentencing of Boorman, who was booted out of the force after he was charged, attracted a host of comments on social media sites — all criticizing the light sentence.

One woman pointed out that it was “sad” that someone dealing in drugs would get a much heavier sentence than 12 months. Another said that with time off, Boorman could be back on the streets in six months. Others questioned why Boorman had been allowed to drive a taxi while on bail for the offences — and called on TCD to introduce stricter vetting for cab drivers.

Ms Cooper said it was a concern that Boorman had been driving a taxi while on bail awaiting court hearings — and called for public access to a sex offenders’ register. She added: “That speaks to the question of being able to identify people who have a history of sexual offences. At the moment, the way the system works is if you wanted to hire someone, you cannot phone the police and vet him.

“There’s no provision whatsoever for that, unlike other jurisdictions.

“The only thing that someone can do is ask the individual they’re thinking of hiring to go and get a police clearance themselves. That’s a concern because this kind of situation will be problematic without a properly-functioning sex offenders’ registry which is available to prospective employers.”