Derbyshire police continue crackdown on internet child abuse

Posted on 16th July 2014

The safeguarding of children is a key priority for Derbyshire Constabulary.

Police in Derbyshire have prosecuted nearly 70 offenders as part of an on-going crackdown on web-based child abuse in the county.

Early in 2013 the force established a dedicated team of highly-skilled officers to use the latest technology and techniques to target those involved in indecent images of children online and associated offending.

Since then, a total of 68 individuals have been prosecuted for indecent images offences, with more than 40 investigations still on-going.

It comes as the National Crime Agency released statistics for Operation Notarise – a nationwide campaign that has been running for the last six months.

Derbyshire Constabulary had been conducting these proactive investigations for some time before Operation Notarise was launched.

Nationally, Operation Notarise targeted people accessing indecent images of children online and saw 660 people arrested for offences ranging from possession of those images to serious sexual assault.

As a part of Operation Notarise, Derbyshire Constabulary arrested nine people on suspicion of accessing indecent images of children.

The operation supported and built upon the work that Derbyshire police’s dedicated team of officers have been carrying out since last year.

Detective Chief Inspector Gareth Meadows, who leads the force’s child sexual exploitation unit, said: “Since it launched, we have been fully engaged with Operation Notarise, which has been led by the National Crime Agency.

“We recognise that for every image that is sold, shared or distributed on the internet, a child somewhere in the world has been subjected to abuse.

“We tackle this daily and along with local, national and international partners work to identity victims and bring to justice those involved.”

Over a year ago, a team of officers was put together in Derbyshire to target those involved in indecent images of children and associated offending.

As well as prosecuting offenders, a focus for police is ensuring children are protected from harm and the team has been working with partner agencies to safeguard youngsters.

DCI Meadows added: “People with such images on their computers commonly perceive it as a secret crime for which they will not be caught, and they seem to ignore the sickening offending that has to take place to support their perverted and criminal interest.

“Such people need to be aware that we use a variety of overt and covert investigative methods to identify who these people are, and we will prosecute any we discover.”

Derbyshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Alan Charles, said: “Web-based offences represent one of the biggest challenges in modern-day policing and tackling the problem requires people equipped with a wealth of technical expertise – not a highly visible uniform.

“This illustrates the increasing complexity of allocating scarce resources to meet demand, particularly when some of those resources are practically invisible to the public.

“Together we need to send a clear message to perpetrators that they will be caught, they will be brought to justice; and the public can help us do that by reporting suspicious behaviour and making it clear that abuse of any kind is absolutely unacceptable.”

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