But most will never be caught…
A nationwide investigation into online paedophilia has netted more than 25,000 people suspected of viewing child abuse images in Britain.
Operation Notarise has led to 660 arrests. However, the National Crime Agency says that it will never be able to pursue all of those caught up in the inquiry. “There will always be more people than we are able to investigate at any one time,” a spokesman said. “We cannot arrest our way out of this.”
The true scale of the inquiry, which began this year, can be disclosed as the agency faces pressure from politicians over its record on dealing with online child abuse.
Last week it emerged that a hospital doctor and a deputy head teacher were left free to commit sex offences for more than a year after the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command (CEOP), which is part of the agency, failed to share intelligence on them and more than 2,300 other suspects with police forces.
The police complaints watchdog is investigating the agency’s handling of the intelligence and Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, is expected to criticise the agency’s record when she addresses the Labour party conference tomorrow.