Senior police officers have asked the Government for more money to fight paedophilia on the internet.
The Association of Chief Police Officers is said to be concerned that some forces do not have the funds to investigate properly and to prosecute suspected child abusers operating on the internet.
The demand comes shortly after an FBI investigation identified up to 7,000 people in the UK who were downloading child porn from a website. The site showed children being raped and tortured.
Details of users in Britain were passed to the authorities six months ago, and officers launched Operation Ore to catch the culprits. Some of the suspects are policemen. But individual police forces, some with few resources, were left to investigate the suspects.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Carole Howlett, of the Association of Chief Police Officers, told the BBC: "I have no doubt that in the future there are going to be operations of a similar scale and nature to [Operation Ore]. We need to be properly resourced in order to deal with that." A BBC report claims 95 per cent of those identified were unknown to police and were mostly middle-class professionals.
Hilary Benn, a Home Office minister, confirmed Acpo had submitted an application to the Home Office for extra funding. "This is in addition to general police funding which provides for the policing of all crime, including child protections issues, on and off line." She said that no decision had been taken on how to respond.
Thomas Reedy, who ran the website and made millions from it, is serving a sentence of 1,335 years in the US.