Eric McIlveen - who served in the police for 30 years - was also made the subject of a seven-year Sexual Offenders Prevention Order (SOPO).
Belfast Crown Court heard the 71-year old, from Stirling Road in Belfast, was caught with 353 indecent images of children along with two videos. A majority of these images were in the lowest category of seriousness.
Prosecutor Simon Jenkins said McIlveen’s home was searched on May 6, 2015 by officers acting on information that indecent images were being accessed from that address.
McIlveen’s computer and laptop were seized and the images were located following a forensic examination of the equipment.
The pensioner admitted to police that he had clicked on images of young children, but claimed he had then deleted them. He subsequently pleaded guilty to 12 counts of making an indecent photograph of a child, and of possessing an extremely pornography image.
Defence solicitor Darren Duncan said McIlveen came before the court with a clear criminal record.
Mr Duncan said that when police first arrived at his client’s home, McIlveen “made it clear ... it was him they needed to speak to.”
The solicitor spoke of McIlveen’s long police career before revealing that the offending was “a combination of many things” including a family tragedy and ill health, which contributed to him “moving towards porn online.”
Mr Duncan also told the court that McIlveen was remorseful and had shown insight.
Judge Gordon Kerr QC spoke of the “serious abuse” suffered by the children in the images and video “in order to satisfy the interests of people like this defendant.” He also branding McIlveen’s offending as “unacceptable.”