A nation-wide police operation targeting known and suspected child sexual offenders has resulted in more than 141 search warrants being executed, 76 suspected offenders being arrested and 80 safeguarded and protected from abuse so far.
The States of Jersey Police carried out one warrant, arresting one 20-year-old man. He is subject to on-going investigation on charges of possession of indecent images of children.
The Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre joined forces with 42 police forces and officers from the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) in Operation Tharlsey for two days of action on Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13th June in a bid to crack down on those individuals thought to be in possession of child abuse images.
The suspects were identified as a result of intelligence received directly from CEOP as well as from investigations conducted locally.
The majority of the warrants conducted related to image offences, including the possession and distribution of indecent images of children (IIOC). Additionally arrests were also made where known offenders had breached the conditions of the Sex Offender's Register.
The conclusion of Operation Tharsley coincides with the launch of a report from the CEOP called ˜A Picture of Abuse'. This Thematic Assessment brings together current academic thinking and operational police experience in the form of case studies and practitioner debriefs, in order to better understand the risk posed by ˜image only' offenders. The report underlines the significant risk of contact offending posed by those who possess indecent images of children. It makes key recommendations about how police forces, others involved in child protection and the criminal justice process, can manage that risk to safeguard and protect more children.
Inspector Dave Burmingham, Head of States of Jersey Police's Public Protection Unit, said: "The development on the internet has meant offences of this nature have become much more common and we are constantly working to identify the offenders and stop the harm they are causing to children.
"We regularly work with other forces on cases of this nature as the internet means predators can target children not just on our shores. We hope that this operation shows anyone living in the island and exploiting children that our net g"s far and wide and we will catch them.
Andy Baker, Deputy Chief Executive of 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 coordinated police action and operational support from our colleagues in SOCA, we are making a more hostile place for those who are seeking to exploit our children.
"If offenders think that collecting child abuse images is something they can get away with, they need to think again. Theses arrests show once again how law enforcement is becoming increasingly coordinated, sophisticated and innovative in targeting those who commit these crimes.
"Operation Tharsley highlights the excellent work carried out by police forces on a daily basis and I've seen first-hand the passion and dedication of officers investigating these cases. With our transition into the National Crime Agency, we will continue to support forces with child abuse investigations and enhance the UK's response in combating child sexual exploitation
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