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Rise in internet child porn arrests

Date: March 07, 2005
Source: This Is London

Arrests and convictions for internet child porn offences have more than quadrupled in just two years.

New figures showed 2,234 perverts were cautioned or charged with crimes in England and Wales in 2003, compared with 549 in 2001 - a rise of 307%.

Children's charity NCH pointed out that 2003's figure was 64 times the 35 offences recorded in 1998, the year when the legal framework for child pornography crimes was established.

The charity, formerly known as National Children's Homes, said the increase highlighted an urgent need for the creation of a national centre to combat online paedophiles.

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NCH internet safety adviser John Carr said: "These new and astonishing numbers reflect the arrests made during Operation Ore. But given on-going police activity, the worry is that they represent not a blip but a new 'normality'.

"Many police admit that they are still only touching the tip of a very ugly iceberg."

Between 2002 and 2003 the figure - compiled by the Home Office - rose from 870, a year-on-year rise of 157%, said the charity.

Mr Carr also called on internet service providers to follow the example set by BT and Vodafone and block access to known child porn websites.

The NCH charity will be asking Home Secretary Charles Clarke to investigate how many UK-based ISPs in the UK have yet to block access.

Operation Ore was launched when American investigators supplied credit card details of 6,500 Britons who entered a US pay-per-view web "portal", called Landslide, to gain access to around 300 websites carrying child abuse images.
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