The head of the Queensland Police Service’s (QPS) Argos has received an international award for his dedication to fighting and investigating crimes against children for more than 20 years.
Detective Inspector Jon Rouse travelled to New York to accept the Champion for Children Award at the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children’s (ICMEC) 2018 Gala for Child Protection in May.
Detective Inspector Rouse implemented Australia’s first undercover operation targeting internet child sex offenders and leads the operations team at Argos, State Crime Command’s specialist unit responsible for the investigation of child sex offenders.
ICMEC is a not-for-profit organisation that has been a leader in identifying gaps in the global community’s ability to protect children from abduction, sexual abuse and exploitation.
The organisation heads a global missing children’s network of 22 countries, has trained law enforcement personnel from 121 countries and has worked with legislatures in 100 countries to adopt new laws combating child exploitation.
Police Minister Mark Ryan said this award was a well-deserved honour for a humble man who had truly changed and, in many cases, saved the lives of society’s most vulnerable - children.
“I know Queenslanders everywhere are very grateful for the outstanding work of Jon, his colleagues at Argos and every officer working around the state in child protection roles,” he said.
“Their dedication and hard work has rescued many children from the most horrendous situations, not just in Queensland but throughout Australia and the world.
“Between January, 2017 and 22 March 2018, Argos was behind the arrests of 251 offenders on 2853 charges for various charges, including rape and the possession, making, production and distribution of child exploitation material.
“Jon and the people of Argos are recognised internationally for their incredible and diverse work, which ranges from capturing grubs and saving children, to developing an online safety app, to travelling overseas to train others in their field, even addressing the United Nations on the effective response to child exploitation investigations.
“Following the Commission of Inquiry into Organised Crime, the Palaszczuk Government announced the allocation of $3.2 million to enhance the capabilities of investigators working tirelessly to target those who commit atrocious sexual-based crimes against children.
“This funding provided the opportunity to expand the capability of the Victim Identification Unit in Argos with the addition of two internationally recognised experts.
“This amazing unit has identified 155 child victims nationally and internationally and action has been taken to rescue these victims.
“Our government is committed to making sure police can keep our innocent children safe, delivering $39.1 million over four years to target all serious and organised crime and implementing important legislation.
“New organised crime legislation allows police to further crack down on online child sex offending and exploitation.
“The new offence covers child exploitation and extends to other crimes where access to information is required.
“Between the commencement of the offence to February 22, 2018, 59 charges have been preferred by the QPS.
“As the world takes its cues from QPS’s Argos, it is no wonder their Australian colleagues also do.”
Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said Argos plays an important role in the Queensland Police Service’s work detecting predators and defending our innocent children from online threats. Argos and the team at State Crime Command’s Child Abuse and Sexual Crime Group are also supported by the tremendous work of child protection and investigation unit officers across the state.
“As the internet continues to grow as a day-to-day part of the lives of children and young people, the threat of child exploitation online will continue to increase,” he said.
“Criminals try to avoid detection by using specialised software to become anonymous and conduct illegal activities on the Darknet, such as trading in child exploitation material.
“We welcome any opportunity to continue to protect Queenslanders from criminal exploitation of this nature.”
Detective Inspector Jon Rouse said the award was an enormous honour and one that reflects the efforts and dedication of my colleagues at Argos and the Child Protection Investigation Units across Queensland.
“The training and policy work that has been driven by the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children in Washington DC has resulted in an increase in global law enforcement capability and legislative reform – work that has been integral to the successful rescue of countless children from sexual exploitation,” he said.
“Both myself and the detectives at Argos are proud to have been associated with and to have worked alongside them for the last 12 years.”
Minister for Police and Minister for Corrective Services
The Honourable Mark Ryan