100 held in web suspected internet paedophile raids
Friday 15 June 2012
The number of arrests in a high profile operation targeting suspected internet paedophiles has risen to 100.
A Scout leader, a retired teacher and members of the Armed Forces were among those arrested in raids conducted by more than 40 police forces.
The officers executed more than 143 search warrants in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in the 48-hour operation led by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop).
As the arrests are processed by the forces the number of arrests is expected to rise again today.
Some 80 children were "safeguarded" following the raids.
One in four were found at the properties searched by police and more than 30 cases were referred to children's services.
Most of the warrants related to image offences, including the possession and distribution of indecent pictures of children, Ceop said.
Among those arrested were a referee, a pathologist, government employees, a firefighter, an outdoor activities instructor and a computer programmer.
Known offenders who had breached the conditions of the sex offenders' register were also among those arrested in the dawn raids on June 12 and 13.
In video footage of one of the raids, officers in plain clothes can be seen placing laptop computers into evidence bags.
They also seized USB storage devices and external hard drives, digital cameras and any other items capable of storing pictures.
Andy Baker, deputy chief executive at Ceop, said the pictures on them would be scrutinised to see if the background revealed any clues to the identities of the victims.
"Every image is a crime scene, we need to identify that crime scene," he said.
Ceop also published a report warning that anyone caught downloading child abuse images online poses a risk of committing physical sex attacks on children.
The report said that one analysis showed 55% of paedophiles who possess indecent images also commit sexual offences against children.
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