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UK police arrest 660 suspected pedophiles after six-month online operation

Photo: Image by Getty Images

UK police arrest 660 suspected pedophiles after six-month online operation

By Julianne Cassidy. CREATED Jul 16, 2014

Law enforcement agencies joined forces from England to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, as 45 police forces arrested 660 suspected pedophiles over the course of a six-month online operation in the United Kingdom. As a result, more than 400 children spanning the U.K. have been protected. The investigation targeted people viewing indecent images of minors online.

"Thirty-nine of the suspects were registered sex offenders," a statement from the National Crime Agency said, "meaning the vast majority were not previously known to police. Their number also included social care workers and former police officers," reports CNN. "The charges brought so far range from possession of indecent images of children to serious sexual assault, it said. Many suspects have yet to be charged in the case."

According to CNN, the National Crime Agency's deputy director general Phil Gormley said, "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." It is commonly believed that once these graphic images are viewed, some abusers go on to abuse children directly. 

Two high-profile cases in the United Kingdom involving children's TV entertainer Rolf Harris and late TV host Jimmy Savile have spurred an "'unprecedented increase' in reports of sexual abuse of children," details Chief Constable Simon Bailey, speaking on behalf of police forces in England and Wales.

As new reports overwhelm agencies, police officials are continuing their investigation at this time.