Twenty eight suspected South Yorkshire paedophiles have been arrested for offences including rape, sexual assault and possessing indecent images of children.
Police also detained people for alleged sexual communication with a child and inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, and seized 285 devices. Some 21 children at risk of being groomed, exploited and abused were safeguarded, officers say. The arrests were made in ’13 days of concerted action’ by the Internet Sex Offences Team.
Det Insp Lee Wilson, who leads the team, said: “Our focus is to get these individuals into custody and wherever possible, we seek to secure charges quickly working alongside the Crown Prosecution Service. In some cases, this can happen there and then – especially if an offender is already subject to requirements under the Sex Offenders’ Register or Sexual Harm Prevention Orders.”
“However, as much of the evidence exists in the digital world, we need to seize digital devices so that they can be forensically examined by our Digital Forensics Unit. To give you an idea of the scale of this work, in just those 13 days of action, the ISOT seized 285 devices.
“To allow for these enquiries to take place, individuals may be released on bail but are placed under strict conditions. If those conditions are breached, then that constitutes a further criminal offence and could see them being remanded.”
DI Wilson continued: “The reason we all come to work every day, in the challenging and difficult world of ISOT, is to keep children safe and to stop sexual offenders.
“The team works incredibly hard to progress any and all information about suspected online sex crimes, arresting individuals and seizing their devices. This swift, decisive action halts their criminality and can disrupt an entire network of sexual predators.
“Our work does not stop and will not stop, however, and we move forward into the next 12 months with resolve and determination.”