British police arrested 660 suspected paedophiles, which included teachers and doctors, through an investigation which lasted six months.
The National Crime Agency, which is often called the FBI of the UK, led the investigation. The arrested suspects also include former police officers and care workers. It also said that over 400 children were taken into custody during the investigation. This is the first time such an investigation took place in the UK. There were 45 police forces from Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England that were involved in the operation.
The investigation was kept completely classified until the whereabouts were revealed on Wednesday, July 16. The NCA, however, did not reveal how it was able to identify the suspects as it planned to track down more suspects using the same methods. It was, on the other hand, disclosed that the suspects were identified through their online behaviour such as accessing child porn on the Web.
According to the official statement of the NCA, 39 suspects turned out to be registered sex offenders. The statistical report revealed that police were not aware of more than 600 suspects. The suspects have been charged for various offences like the possession of child porn and sexual molestation. There are certain suspects who have not been charged yet.
One of the doctors, who are among the arrested suspects, apparently possessed more one million photos on his computers that depicted child abuses. Another suspect, who said that he had travelled for sex to South Eastern Asian countries, confessed that he had been watching photos depicting child abuse for the last three decades. He started watching such photos when he was 16.
NCA's Deputy Director General Phil Gormley said that the agency would aim to protect possible victims of child molestation. "Our aim was to protect children who were victims of, or might be at risk of, sexual exploitation. A child is victimized not only when they are abused and an image is taken. They are re-victimized every time that image is viewed by someone," he said.
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