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Almost 700 arrests across UK in child abuse images crackdown

The arrests followed an operation targeting people looking at online abuse images.

Image: Shutterstock/Brian A Jackson

OVER 680 PEOPLE have been arrested in the UK over the last nine months in connection with the downloading of indecent images of children.

The National Crime Agency revealed the figures today.

The arrests followed an operation targeting people looking at online abuse images.

One in seven, according to the agency, held “positions of trust” – like roles in teaching or law enforcement.

Nearly 400 children were identified as being at risk in the wake of the arrests.

People were detained across the UK – with 40 police forces involved. The BBC reports that a total of 682 people were questioned and of that number 147 have been charged.

“Today’s results demonstrate a new level of intent to stop offenders viewing indecent images and abusing children, and a new sophistication in our tactics,” Chief Constable Simon Bailey, the National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Child Protection, said.

“This shows that a focus on targeted, proactive operations coordinated with the NCA works.

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“93 per cent of the people we arrested in this operational activity were not previously known to law enforcement in relation to child abuse.

“If we hadn’t gone out looking for them as we have done, they would have remained under the radar and the nearly 400 children we’ve safeguarded since then would still be at risk.

These operations are directed at those involved in the vile industry built around indecent images of children but this is part of a wider change in approach for the police service.

“Our focus has got to be on working proactively with other agencies to protect the public from harm committed on or offline, with particular focus on those who are most vulnerable.”

Read: All kinds of drugs worth nearly €1 million seized in pre Christmas crackdown

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Daragh Brophy

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