When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
76 arrested in paedophile swoop
A Scout leader, a retired teacher and members of the Armed Services were among the 76 people arrested in raids as part of an operation targeting suspected internet paedophiles.
Officers from more than 40 police forces executed more than 141 search warrants in the 48-hour operation led by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop). Some 80 children were "safeguarded" following the raids. One in four were found at the properties searched by police.
Most of the warrants related to image offences, including the possession and distribution of indecent images of children, Ceop said. Among those arrested were a referee, a pathologist, Government employees, a firefighter, an outdoor activities instructor and a computer programmer.
Known offenders who had breached the conditions of the Sex Offender's Register were also arrested.
Ceop published a report warning that anyone caught downloading child abuse images online poses a risk of committing physical sex attacks on children. The report said that one analysis showed 55% of paedophiles who possess indecent images also commit sexual offences against children.
Kate Fisher, a principal analyst at Ceop, said: "The images being downloaded are increasingly becoming more extreme, sadistic and violent and feature increasingly younger children."
However, the severity and number of images held by offenders are not enough alone to assess the risk they pose or the sentence they should receive, the report said. Ceop urged police forces to prioritise the investigation of anyone caught with child abuse images who has easy access to children.
Andy Baker, deputy chief executive at Ceop, said: "It is clear that those who possess indecent images also pose a significant risk to children and understanding and managing that risk is not an easy undertaking.
"However, when we bring together the latest intelligence picture, nationally co-ordinated police action and operational support from our colleagues in the Serious Organised Crime Agency, we are making the UK a more hostile place for those who are seeking to exploit our children."
Ceop called for the authorities to look beyond the quantity and severity of the images, adding that a full risk assessment should be considered before a judge hands down any sentence.