UK-wide raids lead to more than 131 arrests of suspected child sex offenders

A crackdown on online child sex offenders saw 131 suspects arrested – including teachers, a children’s entertainer, and a former police officer.

More than 200 raids led to 164 children being safeguarded following the one-week operation by the National Crime Agency (NCA) and forces in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Of the arrests, 19 held positions of trust and 13 were registered sex offenders, the NCA said.

It comes as UK law enforcement called on internet giants to take more action to stop access to sexual abuse images and videos.

Technology companies doing more to remove indecent images from circulation would be a “monumental landmark” in child protection, the NCA said.

The task is made more difficult for officers by sophisticated encryption tools allowing more effective anonymity for online predators, it added.

Rob Jones, NCA lead for tackling child sex abuse, said: “Investigators still have to deal with significant numbers of offenders committing preventable crimes such as viewing and sharing indecent images and videos known to law enforcement.

“The technology exists for industry to design-out these offences, to stop these images being shared.

“Whilst some online platforms have taken important steps to improve safety, we are asking them to take it to the next step.

“That would significantly reduce the trauma to the victims whose images are shared, prevent other individuals from developing a sexual interest in children through accessing these images, and disrupt the methods used to access them.

“Securing agreement from industry to do this would represent a monumental landmark in protecting children.”

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Kirsty O’Connor / PA Wire.