back to article Anti-paedophile police treble arrest figures

The number of suspected paedophiles being arrested has risen in the last year, according to figures today from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop). The anti-child abuse police organisation said 297 arrests have been made in the last year, three times the number in the organisation's first year. Ceop was …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    It's not like they're after petty tax evaders here is it?

    It's not like the CEOP are some kind of common man's enemy like the Inland Revenue is it?

    They're not after my money, they're after protecting my kids by catching the kill, kill, kill them all sick filthbuckets.

    Or am I sitting on the fence with my ambivalent opinions here?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Kiddie Snatchers

    "Almost one million images of child abuse were processed by Ceop in its second year."

    Sounds like 1 million *unique* images, but I bet it's not. I bet it's the same images found in web caches again and again. More over I bet the origin of those images is FBI stings and similar. Since actual commercial sites are rare closed quickly and blocked in the UK.

    "Over the last 12 months, 131 childen were safeguarded and ten of the UK's highest risk offenders were located via Ceop's "most wanted" website and awareness campaign."

    Yet only 18 of those 131 were found to have been abused.... so basically you took 113 kids away from their families to 'safeguard' them from something that wasn't happening? Sounds like the Cleveland kiddie snatchers all over again.

    "Ceop chief executive Jim Gamble said: "I hope offenders take note. Look at the ways in which together we are infiltrating your worlds, understanding your minds in order to limit deviant behaviour and I hope you think again.""

    I can see into your mind. You've lost the grasp of the separation between abuse and images of abuse. You can't see the difference between a beheading terrorist and someone watching the beheading on the 10 oclock news. You also can't see why the Cleveland child snatchers was such a bad thing, they too lost all grasp of common sense. They too separated kids from families to 'protect' them.

    I bet if you look on Jim's home computer.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Arrests not convictions

    A lovely statistic, but why is no one reporting the real figures?

    Convictions as a percentage of these arrests are DECLINING. They are arresting MORE innocent people.

    And the conviction rate for these crimes is already very low.

    But an arrest is an arrest, Police officers are measured/targeted on the number of arrests they make, not the number of convictions as that is seen as the courts job. So arresting an innocent person isn't a problem, as it still helps you meet your targets as an officer.

    From an ex police officer. Ex, because I was fed up of shit like this.

  4. Duncan Hothersall

    Self-sustaining group promotes own achievements

    Sorry, but much as I welcome work to reduce harm to children, I have no confidence whatsoever in the ability of the people who define what various online activities represent in terms of harm, who also promote themselves using the statistics only they can verify.

    For example, how many of these arrests were of people like Simon Bunce, whose life was essentially ruined by the heavy-handed application of this specialist unit? The BBC carries his story here: but essentially he was falsely branded a paedophile and was disowned by his family, on the basis of something as simple as a stolen credit card - an offence which happens thousands of times a day in this country.

    We live in an era of paedophile hysteria, and these stories only serve to promote it further. We do not see self-promotion by murder squads - why do we see such blatant misinformation from the sex offences lot?

  5. Jamie
    Thumb Up


    I have upset my wife multiple times as I am against the sex offenders registry, and all other ways the gov't use to keep track of sex offenders. The only reason they have been put in place is that the gov't have realized that all thier talk about rehabilitation are nothing but hot air. Once released a sex offender is more likely to reoffend as time goes by. As for paedophiles the odds are higher than any other group released from prison.

    Gotta give the task force credit but with the gov't and thier current policies they are fighting a losing battle as most if they get a sentence will be out to reoffend before thier victims finish pre-school.

    Still have to give them hats off as they are doing a job that I would not be able to do without blowing my brains out.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Hard to argue against them, but keep a watchful eye!

    While it's difficult to argue with CEOP at face value, it's worth remembering that their activities need to be very tightly regulated with good oversight.

    These are the same people who released the details of those arrested under Operation Ore in cases where their credit cards had been cloned and were used to purchase child porn from places and countries where the supposed perpetrator had never been. People have been hounded from their jobs and relationships based on lies and deceit. When asked directly about this Jim Gamble refused to condemn these actions even where it was clear that his officers were guilty of these actions. It's also worth noting that the information fromt he US supplied to them was subsequently checked and found to be of exaggerated value. The sites claimed to be linked to the front page of the aggregation site in the US were also found never to have been. In these cases any evidence trail leading directly from the accused to a child porn site were often fabricated, the US police who 'uncovered' these links subsequently admitted that their forensic computing techniques were flawed.

    Also, remember how the Vice Squad and Obscene Publications Squad often drew their staff from those groups within the police who were of an extreme Christian persuasion and were prepared to prosecute beyond their remit and at the very edges of the law. While it's harder for such bias to apply to child porn cases, there is still a risk.

    By their nature, contentious laws need very careful investigation and prosecution, using dispassionate investogators and prosecutors. Omit this care at your peril.

  7. Mark Broadhurst
    IT Angle

    Lots of arrests how many convictions

    300 arrests and 18 convictions that's 0.06 % Success.

    and how many lives were ruined for being arrested as a paedophile loosing their jobs, homes dis-owned by family etc. and then later released with out charge.

    I'm all for getting Offenders off the streets but I'm more for identifying them better.

  8. Dangermouse

    @Mark Broadhurst

    Try 6 %, not 0.06 %.

    Start, run, type "calc" etc.


  9. Spoonguard


    These figures sure show CEOP is doing a splendid job in reducing the sexual exploitation of children, what a profoundly useful application of the taxpayers money.

  10. Mark

    I keep wondering, though

    If the number of arrests is so high, is it because

    a) we have too broad a definition of KP

    b) KP and sexual abuse of a child is very common

    I don't know anyone with what I'd call KP tendencies, though. So I'd suspect (a). It would be nicer if it were (a) too, because that shows up there's something REALLY WRONG somewhere with the human race.

    And how many people caught in operation "get the fuckers" that netted a lot of "paedo's" by seeing where their card was used to purchase KP were later found out (after some had committed suicide) to have been the victim of credit card fraud?

  11. Anonymous Coward


    Ceop chief executive Jim Gamble said: "I hope offenders take note. Look at the ways in which together we are infiltrating your worlds, understanding your minds in order to limit deviant behaviour and I hope you think again."

    Well, if they could "think again" things would be easier, right? The problem might just be that they can't "think again" in the first place. Bad impulse control, damaged front lobes, sociopathy and all that...

    Macho vigilante talk is a most despicable thing.

  12. Ishkandar

    Not much bloody good...

    ...if they are let loose into society in no time at all by the do-gooders !!

    Re.I keep wondering, though - these days, you are guilty until proven innocent !!

  13. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down


    "if they are let loose into society in no time at all by the do-gooders !!"

    I am very probably one of those people you would describe as a "do-gooder" (or, at least, not one of the "hang them and flog them brigade") except that I am in favour of *proven* techniques such as rehabilitation treatment and post-release support groups which have been *shown* to reduce recidivism.

    Unfortunately there are those who think that these are "soft options" and don't want such groups "in my back yard" (translation: anywhere within 100 miles of their house or a school) and protest against allowing such groups anywhere to operate and object to them getting funding and don't want tax payers to support them.

    And *then* they complain because some of these people re-offend *after* every support structure that could stop this from happening has been removed!

  14. A J Stiles

    Guilty until Proven Innocent

    It's not even "guilty until proven innocent". It's "guilty even despite being proved innocent".

    It's no wonder Clive Peachey acted the way he did.

  15. Peter Day

    CEOP and Jim Bates

    Criticising CEOP can be dangerous and contributors to this comments page could be well advised to remain anonymous. The leading computer forensic scientist in this country “Jim Bates” became aware of what CEOP and their predecessors were up to. He exposed their incompetence and lying that characterised the “operation ore” scandal in which victims of identity theft were treated as paedophiles. However CEOP got back at him by indicting him with a spurious perjury charge, to shut him up and put him out of business. So if you have anything bad to say about CEOP then unless you are a brave person it is best to think twice.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Being a paedophile myself...

    That is to say, being attracted to children between the ages of 9-13 (while never having broken the law to either download live images of molestation or molest children myself) I have to say this:

    On one level, it IS something you can't help; on another level, you have a choice: Obey the law, or go and look for images of abused children and (maybe someday) scale up from paedophile to child molester yourself. I choose to obey the law, but for personal reasons. Having sex with a child is a betrayal of trust - the kid trusts you to be an adult and do the right thing all the time, and molesting them is emphatically NOT the right thing to do. Buying images just supports the wicked folks who betray that trust.

    HOWEVER, a 6% 'success' rate in turning arrests to convictions is unacceptable to say the least, especially when the ARREST is what ruins lives and drives people to suicide. Too few people realise that cops drive their statistics by arrests and not convictions, so it behooves them to "Arrest 'em all and let the courts sort it out."

    For something like drugs, or drunk driving, or even terrorism there will be those brave enough to stand up, point to the law, and say, "This is unjust." But who's going to dare stand up against a group that purports to defend children from being molested, no matter how many adult lives they destroy, at the risk of being labeled a supporter of molestation?


  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    holy c--- AC you're the ballsiest online poster I've ever encountered on the internet.

    I sure hope you were posting via multiple proxies with a spamilator address mind you, less you get some boys in blue smashing down your door at 5am arresting you for thought crime. >.>

    Sexual preference is mostly predefined - but people have the choice to follow social concious/morality and ethic as well as the law or they don't.

    However long ago was the chance to have sensible adult debate about such topics washed away with fear and fanaticism (sexuality, immigration, racial prejudice, religion, nationality, climate change, so on, so forth - although all to differing levels, you can't get arrested for admitting to being a climate change doubter.)

    O well - here's to a day where society is grown up again. Although I think I may be a pensioner by then.

  18. Martin Usher

    Beware of the Thin Edge

    Take a step back and look at what these people are doing. You have a police unit dedicated to thought crime. Currently the thought crime is related to children, an activity which is so outside social norms as to be indefensible. We focus our attention on this which blinds us to the tiny amount of actual crime going on in this area, the amount of resources focussed to detect this crime and the wide ranging powers given to police to investigate ("Will Someone Please Think of the Children!!")

    We all should be able to recognize a template when we see one. What's being developed is a system that allows any kind of thought to be criminalized at will, literally by tweaking some parameters. This should be worrying people.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    one anonymous coward to another.

    To the first anonymous coward post at the top of this page; I don't know if you are joking or not, but you do realise, that statistically, the person most likely to molest your kids, is you?

    Most abuse towards children are not done by bad men lurking in the bushes, but by those that tuck them in at night.

    on a side note, lets hope that those increased arrests translate to less kids being molested, and not just more adults being falsely accused by the withcmaster gene.. sorry, the CEOP.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ holy

    I'll trust El Reg to know the difference between 'paedophile' ('a lover of children') and an actual, law-breaking child molester - and that they know the difference between thoughtcrime and realcrime. More of us than you might think, as well - the popularity of Japanese lolicon is proof enough of that. Enough to say that my moral fibre is strong enough that I can acknowledge the weakness without giving into it.

    (Besides, I'm behind 10 proxies! *thumbsup*)

    However, if I were of weaker moral fibre (that is to say, a paedophile that DIDN'T object morally to even images of real molestation), the first thing I'd do is find employment at an agency where I could legally examine 'millions of discrete images of molestation' - kind of like how the American Congressman Mark Foley was a crusader against chid abuse until it was revealed that he liked sending suggestive emails to the underage male interns...

    Who guards the guardsmen? Themselves, of course! Enough reason to never trust a guardsman farther than you can see them. Sometimes they admit it's a grave responsibility, but more often lately all I see are goons enthralled by the shine off their badges...

  21. Sceptical Bastard

    Hysteria and zealotry

    Firstly, let me say I am a parent and abhor the abuse - any form of abuse - of children. I support any productive and proportionate moves to protect children.

    But I also abhor the hyperbole and hysteria surrounding this issue. Proportionality seems to have flown out of the window. Witch hunts do nothing for victims and nothing for justice.

    Hysteria will be increased, not soothed, by the recent press-released spin from CEOP. Jim Gamble has become a tad too messianic for comfort over the past few years, a man obsessed. When he says "...we are infiltrating your worlds, understanding your minds in order to limit deviant behaviour..." I don't feel reassured, I feel queasy. This is the tone of Orwell's Ministry of Truth. Gamble, you may be well-intentioned but increasingly you're sounding like a scary fucker!

    As others have pointed out (above), the figures are not nearly as impressive as the spin would have you believe. To quote the article again 'Almost one million images of child abuse were processed by Ceop in its second year. Such intelligence gathering led directly to the identification of 18 young victims of abuse.' For a start, I very much doubt it was a million *different* images. But if it was, 18 identifications out of one million is not exactly a high hit rate.

    Again, look at the statement 'Major operations shut down six paedophile rings, all with international links.' How does it protect the *average* victim of child abuse to throw so much money at smashing these fabled 'international peado rings' when the vast majority of abuse is perpetrated by the victims' own family or their friends? Shannon Matthews, for example, wasn't abducted by an international ring of perverts - her mother, step-father and colluded in an attempt to defraud the McCann fund.

    I also question the perceived prevalence of abuse. The Gambles of this world (and some zealots in NSPCC and local social services departments) would like us to think that every child in Britain is either being sexually assaulted or is in imminent danger of being assaulted. Of course sexual abuse is a real problem; of course it happens. But I never encountered it during my childhood or teens and no friend or aquaintance ever mentioned it either; neither of my sons ever mentioned sexual abuse happening to them or anyone they knew; and as an adult I have never met anyone who claims to have been sexually abused as a child.

    What is needed is more common sense on this issue, less paedo-hysteria, and fewer - far fewer - press releases from Jim Gamble and all the other self-serving vested interests in the child protection industry.

    Finally, to the commenter above "Being a paedophile myself... " You make good points and you are a brave person for 'coming out' - you deserve respect on that count.

    Excuse me while I board up my doors and windows as I DBAN all my hard drives and melt my CD back-ups. Jim'll be round any minute now...

  22. michael


    @ mark

    "I don't know anyone with what I'd call KP tendencies, though. So I'd suspect (a). It would be nicer if it were (a) too, because that shows up there's something REALLY WRONG somewhere with the human race."

    how do you know unless you catch them at it every one of your co workers could be a kiddy fiddler and you would not know

    @ the honest ac

    it would be intresting to do a totlesy honest servery of all men and see how meny pepol where atracted to a picture or say a 12 year old rember that the age limites are a invention of the socitery we live in <1000 years ago girls of 12 where being married

    @ the article

    I wander how meny pepol have been employed for how long to get 300 arretst and 18 convictions?

  23. Jon

    Just a thought -

    We live in a 'Limited Democracy', where you devolve your responsibility for making decisions to another. It seems that we've devolved our responsibility as human beings to another as well. Would this be known as 'Limited Humanity' ? Not quite so long ago, it was the responsibility of the entire race to look after the upcoming generations, now the responsibility seems to lie elsewhere. The only thing that's making this happen is greed (think of the cost, I have no time for it, not my problem, etc); and pretty short term greed at that, from all of us. Get your fingers out people, unless you want your humanity to be 'limited' we all need to get to work.

    To the people who say "Will someone think about the children", that means that you are not prepared to, and are asking others to do the caring for you. We ALL should be thinking about the children. Period. We ALL should be looking after them, looking out for them, teaching them, helping them. It's not exactly rocket science, but it is hard work - and there is no other work that should ever take priority over that. The how is up to each society, community, nation, whatever - but the basic is the same - without them we are walking dead. I, for one, do not believe that my responsibility end just with my own children. It doesn't end, from the moment of your majority, to your final breath. All of them should be looked after, looked out for, taught. By all of us.

    To those who have braved the world and spoken truly, respect. To those that would abuse trust (and that's a general as well), and their own species, well.... we have to decide if there is a place for you in our society - at the moment we've got a lot of work to do, and too little people outside of the 'limited' democracy bullshit actually willing, or able, to do it.

    This is only a general statement of a fundamental truth. How you, as an individual, community, or society, fulfil that truth is legion.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's not a police unit

    @Martin Usher

    It isn't a police unit... it isn't even a law enforcement agency... it's set up as a multi-agency harm reduction agency, and is part of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), which isn't a police unit either.

    Sure, there are some seconded police officers, but most of the staff aren't even employees themselves, they're seconded from elsewhere, e.g. NSPCC.

    @everyone else...

    There might be some short-sighted forces that use arrests as a measure of "performance", but there is NOT ONE single official Key Performance Indicator that does. IN short, folks, all this talk of "getting the arrest figures up" is honest-to-goodness misinformed crap. Oh, and "Arrests not convictions" AC, I get the feeling that no-one resigns over a moral stand such as you purport... can we have the real reason, please?

    @Sceptical Bastard

    Good post... it's a pleasure to read a reasoned view, and I actually agree with much of what you say. Keep on posting...

    @Peter Day

    "The leading computer forensic scientist in this country “Jim Bates” ..." No, he isn't...

    "CEOP got back at him by indicting him with a spurious perjury charge..." - No, Jim Bates sealed his own fate when he decided to give evidence again and again in Crown Courts, on oath, which included evidence he knew to be lies. He tried to exaggerate his credibility by claiming totally bogus qualifications, including a non-existent degree... not a good idea when you're trying to be an expert witness for the defence. He was rightly convicted (6 March, Leicester Crown Court) and punished for the cavalier way he endangered the defendants whose legal teams were engaging him based on his "qualifications".

  25. Karl Lattimer

    pretty easy to do this...

    I mean all they're doing is increasing the number of people arrested. Something like this is pretty effective also...

    PcPlod: Oi you you're under arrest for fiddling kids...

    Victim: I didn't do it

    PcPlod: We've got to hit our targets somehow.

    ... later that day ...

    Victim: So you're letting me go... I told you I didn't do it

    PcPlod: Thanks for your time, we really need to waste your time, our time and tax payers money, never mind it won't be going to court...

    ... There are lies, damned lies and statistics... And of course 82.7% of statistics are made up on the spot.

  26. Wayland Sothcott Bronze badge

    Guilty of thought crime?

    They say it's because children get abused when the images are made. However artwork showing the same thing is illegal. It depends on what is in the mind of the person viewing. If it's looked at and held on a computer owned by an NSPCC person then that's OK because they are thinking about helping children. If it's on a Paedophiles computer then it's illegal because we know the person is having illegal thoughts. I wonder how many of the NSPCC who love children are people who love children? Maybe they could raise the conviction rate by arresting themselves? Probably better than 6%.

    If a paedo has a childrens clothes catalog, is that then an illegal document?

  27. Anonymous Coward

    Paedo hysteria

    The whole peado-hysteria is really starting to take the piss. Bought my 10 year-old daughter a sub-aqua taster session for her 10th birthday. Hired an underwater video camera for the occasion. Jobsworth at the pool point-blank refused to let me use it, yet a few weeks later a genuine pervert was caught taking pictures in the changing room with a covert camera, and was only caught because he slipped and his kit spilled onto the floor.

    OK, so I should have checked beforehand, but I assumed that the notice at the pool that I read when booking the session (you must ask permission before using a camera) would be a rubber-stamp exercise. I mean a bloke turning up with his own kid for a booked session where his name and address were known and given wouldn't be a problem. I even offered to let them view the tape after the session to make sure there wasn't anything they considered 'inappropriate', but no dice.

    Do these cretins actually believe a *real* sicko would come along with a zonking great underwater camera, his own daughter, and actually *ask permission* to use it.

    Yet the real perv had, apparently, been making regular visits for *months* and had, I assume, acquired himself a good sized library of 'inappropriate' images.

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