Thursday 22 February 2018

More than 1,400 suspects investigated in connection with allegations against VIPs including politicians, celebrities and institutions

More than 1,400 suspects have been investigated by police probing historic child sex abuse allegations against VIPs including politicians, celebrities and institutions.

The figures were revealed by Operation Hydrant, a group set up by the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) to explore links between child sex abuse committed by "prominent public persons".

Norfolk Chief Constable Simon Bailey, the NPCC's lead on child protection, said: "The referrals are increasing on an almost daily basis. The numbers I refer to today are a snapshot in time."

Out of the 1,433 suspects identified, 216 are now dead.

Mr Bailey said that out of these 1,433 suspects, 666 relate to institutions and 357 separate institutions have been identified by the operation.

He said 261 are classified as people of public prominence, of these 135 come from the world of TV, film or radio, 76 are listed as politicians, 43 from the music industry and seven are from sport.

Mr Bailey said: "We are seeing an unprecedented increase in the number of reports that are coming forward.

"That has brought about a step change in the way the service has had to deal with it."

He said it is projected that police will receive around 116,000 reports of historic child sex abuse by the end of 2015 - an increase of 71% from 2012.

He added: "There is no doubt (Jimmy) Savile has had an effect on us. We are getting dealing with more and more allegations."

Of the 357 different institutions which have been identified by the operation, 154 are schools, 75 children's homes, 40 religious institutions.

It also includes 14 medical establishments, 11 are institutions in communities, nine prisons, nine sports venues and 28 other institutions including military groups and guest houses.

Another 17 institutions are classified as unknown.

Mr Bailey said there is no figure for the number of victims, but said it will run into the thousands.

He said: "These figures raise the question, is more abuse being perpetrated?

"I don't have the evidence at this moment in time to prove this one way or another."

But he said the internet is being "abused", adding: "I can't help but think more abuse is being perpetuated.

"More research is needed to prove this one way or another."

The figures are taken from police forces in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

And they relate to reports of abuse, or investigations of abuse, which police forces were dealing with in the summer of 2014.

Press Association

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