How one-in-seven paedophile suspects have jobs that could involve CHILDREN in posts such as teaching, health and the law
A staggering 682 people have been arrested over the past nine months
This figure includes teachers, carers, government officials and medics
Around one in seven worked in – or volunteered in – a ‘position of trust’
Arrests are result of activity by the NCA and 40 police forces in Britain
Officers say the work is ongoing – and the figure will continue to grow
Nearly 700 suspected paedophiles in Britain – including teachers, carers and government officials – have been arrested over child abuse images in the past nine months, shocking new figures reveal.
Around one in seven of those held was employed in, or volunteered in, a ‘position of trust’ – with suspects working in the education, law enforcement, criminal justice and government sectors.
Others had jobs in the medical and care professions, while some served in the Armed Forces.
A total of 682 people were arrested on suspicion of accessing indecent images of children as part of co-ordinated activity by the National Crime Agency (NCA) and 40 police forces across the country.
Those detained who held positions of trust include:
- 32 in teaching and education.
- 23 in medical or care work.
- 15 in law enforcement, criminal justice, armed forces or government roles.
- 24 in voluntary positions.
To date, 147 people have been charged, while 399 children have been safeguarded by authorities.
Among the suspected paedophiles arrested over the past nine months was former ‘villager of the year’ Roland Frankel, who was stripped of his title after downloading indecent images of children.
Frankel, a former Scout leader from Theydon Bois, Essex, admitted to two counts of making or downloading nearly 20,000 indecent photos of minors between 2003 and 2013 in court last month.
In addition to the images, he was found to have 390 sexually explicit videos of children.
The ex-Liberal Democrat councillor was given a 36-month community order, put on the sex offenders’ register for five years and banned from contacting any girl under the age of 16.
Another suspect detained over that period was former senior council officer Colin Bulger, who downloaded ‘extreme’ pornographic images of children, according to the Hull Daily Mail.
Bulger, who worked as the assistant chief executive of North Lincolnshire Council until 2011, reportedly admitted to looking at the disturbing photos to feel ‘power’ following his April arrest.
However, he was spared jail today after a judge handed him a three-year community order instead.
Bulger, who lives in Park Avenue, west Hull, was also instructed him to complete a sex offenders’ programme in Northumbria, and was placed on the sex offenders’ register for seven years.
And in October, an Eton College student was charged with possessing, making and distributing indecent images of children after allegedly being found with more than 2,000 on his computer.
Operation: Simon Bailey, of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said 93 per cent of those arrested were not previously known to law enforcement in relation to child abuse
Andrew Picard, then 17, also encouraged youngsters to strip for him on webcam when he was at the prestigious private school near Windsor, Oxford Magistrates’ Court heard.
He appeared at the court in a suit and a blue striped tie to answer charges of 12 counts of child abuse but did not enter a plea.
He was freed on bail until his next hearing at Oxford Crown Court.
Simon Bailey, of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said 93 per cent of those arrested over the last nine months were not previously known to law enforcement agencies in relation to child abuse.
He said: ‘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.
‘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.
‘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.’
Forty-six registered sex offenders were among those held over alleged child abuse images
Officers said the co-ordinated activity is ongoing – and the figures will continue to grow.
More than 600 properties have already been searched by police, they said.
Johnny Gwynne, of the NCA, also revealed that record numbers of victims captured in indecent images are being identified and protected.
‘In 2014-15 this was 177, the highest ever figure, and in the first six months of this year we have already gone well beyond that, with 187 victims identified,’ he said.
‘Ultimately all of this is about keeping children safe.’
A string of high-profile historic paedophile allegations have emerged in recent years on the back of revelations about the late Jimmy Savile’s prolific offending.
Figures have revealed reports of sexual offences have been rising rapidly. Mr Bailey, the national lead for child protection, said he believes more abuse is being committed today.
‘There can be little doubt in my mind that victims’ confidence, society’s confidence in the ability of the police service to respond to the threat, has been significantly improved and enhanced since the horrors of Jimmy Savile back in 2012,’ he said.
‘But we now have to ask ourselves, is it simply a case of greater confidence of victims coming forward or is more abuse simply now being perpetrated?’
He added: ‘Do I professionally think that more abuse is being perpetrated? Yes. Have I got the evidence to support that at this moment in time? No. Am I going to try and find it? Yes I am.’
An NSPCC spokesman said: ‘This excellent police work has uncovered a dark underbelly of child abuse crime that, frighteningly, only reveals a part of the picture.
‘The operation clearly shows the vast scale of the problem and the serious risk posed to children by offenders within all elements of society.
‘The number of offenders identified in positions of trust – health workers, teachers or in those in caring professions – is deeply disturbing.
‘And equally worrying is the fact that nearly all of those caught were not known to police.
‘There is no doubt law enforcement agencies have made major progress in tackling this type of offence, which is ruining the lives of untold numbers of children.
‘But there is still a long way to go and we can only prevent more victims falling prey to sex offenders by remaining committed to tackling this appalling crime and by showing children how to help protect themselves.’
The new figures come just a day after the deputy head teacher of a leading independent Catholic school in London was charged with possessing almost 400 illegal images and videos of children.
The majority of these materials – allegedly found on devices belonging to Peter Allott, 36, from the £150,000-a-year St Benedict’s School in Ealing – were classified as the most depraved available.
Allott reportedly stored the images and videos on his iPhone and a hard drive kept in his office.
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