200 Paedophile Cases Unsolved After Tip-Offs

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child_abuseBritish police forces are still investigating hundreds of cases involving suspected paedophiles more than two years after evidence was first passed to UK authorities.

Figures show that more than 200 suspects are still being investigated after details were first passed to the Child Exploitation Online Protection Centre (CEOP) by Canadian police in July 2012.

Among the 21 UK forces that were able to provide a detailed breakdown of the Canadian cases – which came out of an international sting operation dubbed Operation Spade – 271 are still ongoing.

The data, obtained by the Press Association, also showed that from 724 referrals, 34 people had been charged and five had accepted cautions.

Controversy was sparked when it emerged that the tip-offs included information about disgraced Cambridgeshire medic Myles Bradbury and teachers Martin Goldberg and Gareth Williams, who both secretly filmed children.

Goldberg, who worked at Thorpe Hall School in Southend, was found to have hundreds of images of school children on his computer when he was discovered dead at his Essex home; while Williams, from Cardiff, is now serving a five-year jail term.

Pete Saunders, from the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, criticised the authorities for failing to act quickly enough on the information.

He told Sky News: “People who access these kinds of images are a danger to children – the fact we’re doing nothing about it is the main concern.

“The other concern is it demonstrates once again that there are large parts of society, or authorities or institutions, who simply refuse to believe or to accept the seriousness of the crimes that are in front of their eyes.”

Child protection expert Jim Gamble, who was chief executive of CEOP until he resigned in 2010, warned that similar delays could happen again.

He said: “These mistakes correlate directly to the lack of investment that has been made in child protection resources, especially in areas where the internet is involved.

“This Government clearly does not understand the issues, they allowed Ceop to wither on the vine.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “The NCA is currently leading an unprecedented operation against online child abusers in the UK.

“Ceop was brought into the NCA to ensure child abuse investigators have access to the agency’s extensive crime-fighting resources and global expertise, which includes officers in 40 countries around the world.

“The move has also strengthened Ceop by ensuring investigators have specialist support to draw on, such as the National Cyber Crime Unit.

“We will always ensure police and other crime-fighting agencies have access to the powers and resources they need to tackle child abuse in all its forms.”

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