More than 260 celebrities and politicians investigated for alleged child sex abuse - UK
Published 20/05/2015 | 23:45
Some 261 celebrities and politicians, including sports, TV and music stars, are being investigated for alleged child sex abuse, police have revealed.
They are among more than 1,400 men suspected by police of being sex predators in the UK as the Home Secretary warned it is only the “tip of the iceberg”.
The rogues gallery includes 135 TV, film and radio stars, 43 musicians and seven sports figures as well as 76 politicians, the officer in charge of the issue has disclosed.
Hundreds of schools, religious institutions, children's homes and sports clubs are also implicated.
Chief Constable Simon Bailey said reports of child sex abuse were increasing on a daily basis and expected police to receive some 116,000 allegations before the end of this year.
The surge is partly a result of the Jimmy Savile scandal in 2012 and Mr Bailey warned victims will run “in to the thousands”.
He said superfast internet connections, such as 4G, are making it easier for perverts to groom children online and feared hundreds of thousands of youngsters have already been targeted.
The figures, from the new police coordinating hub Operation Hydrant, reveal for the first time the massive scale of inquiries in to historic and current sex abuse cases.
Speaking separately, Theresa May, the Home Secretary, told rank and file officers that the picture was the “tip of the iceberg”.
Mr Bailey, the head of Norfolk Police and lead on child sex abuse for the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC), said the scale of child abuse was “stark".
"The referrals are increasing on an almost daily basis so the numbers I refer to today are a snap shot in time,” he said.
He said the figures suggested more sex abuse was being perpetrated.
Officers have identified 357 different institutions linked to the alleged abuse, including 154 schools, 75 children's homes, 40 religious institutions and nine prisons.
Forces have had to shift resources from other departments to focus on historic sex crimes.
Several celebrities have been convicted for historic sex abuse, including children's entertainer Rolf Harris, 85, and PR guru Max Clifford, 72.
But public confidence in the Crown Prosecution Service's (CPS) willingness to prosecute VIPs was shaken when it announced that it would not prosecute Labour peer Lord Greville Janner, 86, despite having enough evidence, because he has dementia.
Mr Bailey also warned the arrival of superfast internet is likely to see "more and more" abuse of youngsters, including the live-streaming of abuse on the internet.He said predators have attempted to groom hundreds of thousands of children in Britain through internet sites and chat rooms.
"We assess there might be 50,000 people who are viewing indecent images of children online,” he said.
Speaking at the Police Federation annual conference in Bournemouth, Mrs May said: “We will need to face up to the changing nature of crime and the impact on police forces, including the much greater reporting of previously ignored or under-reported crimes such as child sexual abuse.
"I have said before that what we are seeing is only the tip of the iceberg.
"So let me be clear, I am committed to ensuring the police have the resources they need to investigate these appalling crimes and bring perpetrators to justice."
But Jon Brown, the lead on tackling sexual abuse at the NSPCC charity said: "There is not enough provision, and as far as adult survivors of abuse are concerned it is extremely patchy.”