PAEDOPHILES hunting victims online in Warwickshire are now the target of a hunt themselves.
Operation Safenet – launched in 2015 by Staffordshire Police, and since adopted by Warwickshire Police in January – has already managed to save 200 youngsters from the clutches of web-surfing perverts.
A dedicated team of specialist police officers and computer experts are using the latest digital techniques to target where images are being viewed, before obtaining search warrants, seizing evidence and arresting suspects.
A recent example saw a 58-year-old Leamington man arrested on suspicion of possession of indecent images of children after the Operation Safenet team raided his home.
Det Supt Damian Barratt from Warwickshire and West Mercia Police said: “An indecent image of a child is an image of a victim of child abuse.
“Those who download and exchange illegal images leave a digital footprint and police will trace them.
“There will be more investigations, more arrests and we will bring more offenders to justice.
“If anyone has information relating to child sexual exploitation or suspicions that someone is using the internet to access indecent images I would urge them to contact police on 101.”
Children and young people who have been asked to do something that makes them feel uncomfortable, either on or offline, can report it through the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) centre at www.ceop.police.uk – as can anyone concerned for a child’s welfare.
Adults concerned about their own behaviour, or that of someone they know, can find more information at The Lucy Faithfull Foundation website at www.stopitnow.org.uk
Visit www.warwickshire.police.uk/operationsafenet for more information and regular updates on investigations.