Thousands of paedophiles will escape ANY punishment because police cannot cope with scale of online abuse
- Police chief Keith Bristow revealed 50,000 people view online abuse
- He said this meant some paedophiles would inevitably escape justice
- Labour said his ‘disgraceful’ remarks showed children were at risk
National Crime Agency boss Keith Bristow said police could not bring all paedophiles to justice
Thousands of paedophiles will escape any punishment because the police cannot cope with the scale of online abuse, a senior officer revealed today.
Keith Bristow, the director general of the National Crime Agency, said it was an ‘uncomfortable’ reality that officers needed to concentrate on the worst abusers.
Mr Bristow said this meant some paedophiles watching online child abuse would inevitably escape justice.
His remarks sparked a furious response tonight – with Labour accusing him of perusing a ‘disgraceful’ policy which would see the ‘vast majority of people downloading vile images’ escaping justice.
Mr Bristow said 50,000 people access indecent images of children each year and the police cannot arrest all of them.
He said: ‘I don’t think I can be more candid than say, if there are 50,000 people involved in this particularly horrible type of criminality, I don’t believe that all 50,000 will end up in the criminal justice system being brought to justice
‘Our responsibility is to focus on the greatest risk and tackle those people.
‘But the wider responsibility that falls to all of us is to stop people getting involved in this activity, to help young people protect themselves and to work hard to understand the totality of the problem so where we are arresting people and bringing them to justice that’s mitigating as much risk to young people as possible.
‘That’s uncomfortable. But these are the uncomfortable conversations we need to have.’
He added: ‘But the reality is everyone who accesses an indecent image of a child, the idea that every single one of them is going to go into the criminal justice process, is not realistic.
‘As abhorrent as even the lower risk part of this is, and it’s still abhorrent and it’s still horrible, particularly when seen alongside other things like acquisitive crime, we’re going to have to start thinking differently about not just how we pursue these people but how we prevent people perpetrating this particular form of horribleness.’
He added: ‘What we can’t do is start at number one and work through to 50,000.
‘What we have to do is apply a logic based on law enforcement experience, and academic support, to work through and try and find the highest risk that sits within that and our contention is the highest risk are those people who go on or have the propensity to commit contact abuse, which is right at the high end.
‘And that’s the challenge we’ve got.’
Labour’s shadow health secretary Yvette Cooper attacked the ‘disgraceful’ policy which left children at risk
Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper MP said Mr Bristow had revealed the Government’s ‘disgraceful policy’ which was leaving children at risk from dangerous abusers.
She said: ‘Now it’s clear the NCA have details on tens of thousands of people who have accessed vile images of child abuse.
‘Yet only 600 have been arrested and they are not even attempting to investigate the vast majority of cases. Of course they need to look first for the most dangerous cases, but it seems most cases aren’t being investigated at all.
‘It’s clear now that the NCA is simply not fit for dealing with the scale and seriousness of this problem.’
But Jon Brown of the NSPCC said Mr Bristow had revealed ‘an uncomfortable truth’.
He said: ‘It’s true that the police can only do what they can with the budgets available to them. The Government must make tackling this vile trade a priority in the funding available to the NCA and at a local force level.
‘There are clear links between accessing this material and contact offending. That risk is obviously increased if offenders have access to children through their work, family or accommodation.
‘The volume or severity of the imagery accessed is not always the most important indicator of risk and an offender’s personal or professional circumstances can be far more telling.’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2800580/thousands-paedophiles-escape-punishment-police-cope-scale-online-abuse.html#ixzz3GiyyURby
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