Police have arrested twenty-four people in Sussex as part of an operation to identify and arrest those who use the internet to access indecent images of children.
Surrey and Sussex Police have been working closely with national Operation Notarise, details of which have been released by NCA and ACPO today (Wednesday July 16).
Assistant Chief Constable Stuart Cundy of the Surrey and Sussex Specialist Crime Command said: “Working closely with the National Crime Agency we have identified and arrested those who use the internet to access indecent images of children.
“This operation aimed to protect children who are, or might be at risk of sexual exploitation. Those who access indecent images should know the internet is not anonymous and we will pursue you.
“Every day police officers and staff from Surrey and Sussex Police work alongside our partners in statutory and voluntary agencies, to identify and safeguard children and young people who are at risk of, or are suffering physical or sexual abuse.
“As part of our policing together approach, Surrey and Sussex Police have arrested 31 people as a result of this national operation.”
A police statement says that the Surrey and Sussex Paedophile On-Line Investigation Teams (POLIT) received 46 intelligence packages from NCA-CEOP as part of Operation Notarise between April and June this year.
This resulted in a total of 29 warrants being executed in Sussex with 24 arrests, and six warrants being executed in Surrey with seven arrests. All arrests were for offences relating to the possession and/or sharing of indecent images of children.
In Sussex 332 computers and related items were seized, and in Surrey 72 were seized. Several thousand other items such as books, magazines, DVDs and cassettes were seized.
Forensic examination and further enquiries are continuing in each case while the men are on bail, and reports will be submitted to the CPS when investigations are complete.
The statement adds that as yet no evidence has been found of any contact offending against any children but precautionary child protection measures have been taken in cases where suspects have been found to have access to children.
As a consequence of the operation 13 children in Sussex and four in Surrey were subject of a safeguarding referral to Children’s Social Care. These referrals allow police and social workers to consider what precautionary measures might need to be put in place to ensure the children are protected from harm. However there has been no evidence to date of any specific risk or of contact offending.