Youth worker arrested on suspicion of internet grooming

A 56 year old former Northamptonshire youth worker's being questioned by police over allegations by undercover reporters that he groomed underage girls online.

Police have launched an investigation after an undercover investigation, broadcast on Channel 5, allegedly reported that Simon Beard was involved in internet grooming.

Beard - who worked for the National Youth Development Agency - was arrested under the sexual offences act. He's currently being held at Wellingborough Police Station before he's taken to be questioned by Metropolitan Police who are taking over the investigation.  

The National Youth Agency confirmed Beard was employed as a development office in 2002 until September last year, and then as a consultant from November 2009.

They said he underwent a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check on November 18,2009 when he became a consultant.

Chief executive Fiona Blacke said:

"The NYA puts the interests of young people at the heart of everything we do and we take our responsibilities for the
safeguarding of young people very seriously. All staff and associates undergo a full disclosure CRB check prior to employment or contract agreement and we are continually reviewing and improving our safeguarding policies.

"In relation to Mr Beard's employment with us we are certain that all the necessary checks and procedures were applied. Because we take any potential threat to the safeguarding of young people so seriously as details emerge we will scrupulously examine our own policies to see if there is anything that needs to be done to strengthen them.

It goes without saying that we will fully cooperate with any police investigations.''