Arrests Made In Crack Down On Suspected Child Sex Offenders
West Mercia Police has made two arrests as part of a nationwide police operation to target known and suspected child sex offenders.
Operation Tharsley was a joint operation co-ordinated by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre between police forces and officers from the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) in a bid to crack down on individuals thought to be in possession of child abuse images.
Over the last two days, warrants were executed at addresses in Worcester and Telford which resulted in the following arrests:
- A 21-year-old man being arrested in Worcester this morning (Thursday, 14 June) on suspicion of possessing indecent images of children. He remains in police custody at this time.
- A 57-year-old man was arrested in Donnington, Telford yesterday (Wednesday, 13 June) on suspicion of inciting children to engage in sexual activity and also accessing indecent images of children via the internet. He has been released on police bail pending further inquiries.
Computers and mobile phones were seized from both addresses. The suspects were identified as a result of intelligence received directly from CEOP as well as from investigations conducted locally.
The warrants executed by West Mercia Police related to image offences, including the possession and distribution of indecent images of children (IIOC).
Detective Superintendent Martin Lakeman is in charge of Public Protection at West Mercia Police. He said: "Our support to this national operation reaffirms West Mercia Police's commitment to the investigation of individuals who are in possession of indecent images of children.
"West Mercia Police works on a daily basis with our partner agencies to safeguard children from harm and the investigation of these types of offences is a principle aim for all the agencies who form part of our Safeguarding Children's Boards.
"It's our intention to keep targeting those that take, possess and distribute indecent images of children and bring them before the courts.
"I would also urge parents to encourage their children to tell them about inappropriate contact on the internet that makes them feel uncomfortable. Offensive images or messages can be reported to the police via the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre website: www.ceop.gov.uk/reportabuse."
Andy Baker, Deputy Chief Executive of CEOP, said: "It is clear that those who possess indecent images also pose a significant risk to children and understanding and managing that risk is not an easy undertaking. However, when we bring together the latest intelligence picture, nationally coordinated police action and operational support from our colleagues in SOCA, we are making the UK a more hostile place for those who are seeking to exploit our children.
"If offenders think that collecting child abuse images is something they can get away with, they need to think again. These arrests show once again how law enforcement is becoming increasingly coordinated, sophisticated and innovative in targeting those who commit these crimes.
"Operation Tharsley highlights the excellent work carried out by UK police forces on a daily basis and I've seen first-hand the passion and dedication of officers investigating these cases. With our transition into the National Crime Agency, we will continue to support forces with child abuse investigations and enhance the UK's response in combating child sexual exploitation."
To find out more about how you can keep your child safe online visit: www.westmercia.police.uk/e-safety/