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Child pornography: Hard-drives seized and 25 arrested in major crackdown

A series of search and seizure operations took place as part of ‘Operation Jarra’.

A TOTAL OF 25 people have been arrested as part of a major crackdown on the accessing of indecent images of children online across Northern Ireland.

Giving details of their ‘Operation Jarra’, the PSNI said the force had been involved in a series of search and arrest operations in the last few months.

As well as the arrests “steps were also taken to safeguard and protect 32 children as appropriate”.

A number of items – including hard-drives – were also seized for forensic tests.

harddrives1 A number of the hard-drives and other items seized. Source: PSNI

Four people have appeared before court to date, while the remainder have been released on bail as investigations continue.

“The message is clear for those who continue to exploit children online,” Detective Chief Superintendent George Clarke of the PSNI’s Public Protection Branch said.

“You leave a digital footprint when you are downloading, viewing, making indecent images of children and we have the capacity, capability and determination to catchyou and bring you to justice.”

Dr Zoe Hilton – the Head of Child Protection at the National Crime Agency, which was also involved in the operation – added:

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“The aim of this operation is to protect children who are victims of, or might be at risk of, sexual exploitation.

“Online images are not a ‘lesser’ form of abuse. Every child in those images has been sexually abused, and every time someone looks at an image that child is victimised again. Knowing those images are out there has a devastating impact on victims.

“Some of the people who start by accessing indecent images online go on to sexually assault children directly, but not all do. That is why, as well as bringing offenders to justice, we want to prevent potential abuse taking place by stopping people from crossing that line.

“Be in no doubt that we can police the internet. It is not a safe haven for accessing indecent images of children, and if you do it you should expect to come to our attention.”

Read: Author John Grisham says sentences for watching child porn are too harsh

Read: Former US government cybersecurity chief convicted on child porn charges

About the author:

Daragh Brophy

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