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Saturday 26 July 2014

Doctors & teachers among 600 held in child porn sting

Martin Evans

Published 17/07/2014|02:30

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Doctors, teachers, care workers and former police officers were among more than 600 suspected pedophiles arrested as part of Operation Notarise. Picture credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
Doctors, teachers, care workers and former police officers were among more than 600 suspected pedophiles arrested as part of Operation Notarise. Picture credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

DOCTORS, teachers, care workers and former police officers are among more than 600 suspected paedophiles arrested as part of a British police operation to crack the so-called dark web.

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Detectives from every force in the UK targeted people suspected of downloading and distributing indecent images of children in a six-month investigation known as Operation Notarise.

A total of 660 people have been arrested on suspicion of committing a range of offences, including serious sexual assault, according to the National Crime Agency. More than 400 children have been identified as being potentially at risk.

Police said many of those arrested had access to children in the course of their work, and just 39 were known sex offenders.

While the NCA refused to discuss the tactics used to snare the suspected paedophiles it is believed many of those arrested had been operating on the dark web, a part of the internet, which has in the past proved difficult to police.

Users have been able to operate with virtual anonymity, and it has become known as a marketplace for guns and drugs as well as images of child abuse.

Phil Gormley, deputy director general of the NCA, said sex offenders should realise that they cannot avoid detection while using the internet, even the dark web.

But he said he was "profoundly disappointed" that so many suspects had been arrested over this type of crime.

"The alternative is not to look under the stone, and we cannot afford not to look under this stone. There are very significant volumes of people viewing this material in this country and abroad.

Significant

"We are not going to be able to arrest our way out of it. The numbers are significant, the volumes are huge."

He added: "This operation has been about protecting children who are victims of, or might become victims of, sexual exploitation.

"Children are victimised not only when they are abused and the images first taken, but at every subsequent time that image is viewed by further offenders or distributed." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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