OVER THIRTY PEOPLE have been arrested across Northern Ireland as part of a major investigation into the abuse of children and young people, the PSNI have confirmed.
The investigation team are now on the hunt for other perpetrators who have been involved.
Confirming details of the investigation today, PSNI Detective Superintendent Sean Wright said that the suspects had been arrested as part of the current inquiry, and as part of earlier investigations.
“The arrests have been in connection with sexual offences and other associated offences such as possession of drugs and supply of drugs,” Wright said.
22 victims, aged between 13 and 18, have been identified following a review of cases of young people who went missing from the care system. It’s believed they were exploited in return for drink or drugs.
“We are now working closely with our partner agencies to deal with this in terms of raising awareness, identifying any young person who may be at risk and ensuring they are protected,” Wright said.
“As the Police Service of Northern Ireland, we have a responsibility to investigate and prosecute those who coerce, exploit and abuse children in this manner.
“We are focused on the perpetrators and we are proactively looking for them. We will use our collective efforts to bring them to justice for the abuse they have inflicted.”
Wright called on anyone with concerns about a child or young person to contact the police on 0845 600 8000.