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Babies are new target, Met warns as paedophile threat spirals

30th Aug 2008 | in Child AbuseChild Protection

Children too young to speak are increasingly being targeted by sex offenders - and members of the professions are among those trawling the net for images. In the week Gary Glitter returns, police say the scale of the threat is ‘massive’

Paedophiles are increasingly targeting babies and children too young to speak in an orchestrated strategy to avoid being caught, police have revealed.
The disturbing revelation came as Scotland Yard warned that the threat facing society from child abuse is far graver than previously assumed, with ‘huge’ numbers of paedophiles scouring the internet for potential victims.
As the furore over the arrival of paedophile Gary Glitter rumbled on last night, detectives from Britain’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) revealed that they were uncovering growing evidence that paedophiles were concentrating on ‘pre-verbal’ victims.
CEOP spokesman Vicky Gillings said officers were finding an increasing number of images, many showing the raping of babies, involving youngsters whose inability to describe their abuse made them attractive to paedophiles.
Detective Chief Inspector Nick Stevens, head of the Metropolitan Police’s paedophile unit, said: ‘There are huge numbers of paedophiles online, surfing the net and looking for child abuse images, at any one time.
‘The problem is far, far larger than anyone is aware of. Ten years ago the Metropolitan Police seized perhaps a few thousand images a year. Now you’re talking millions.’ He added that the middle classes had to start accepting that large numbers of paedophiles came from professional backgrounds. Last Friday Martin Hatcher, 46, an NHS scientist from Exeter, was jailed for downloading more than 270,000 child abuse pictures.
With the true scale of paedophilia in Britain impossible to quantify, Jim Warnock, head of operations at the CEOP, said hundreds of online paedophile networks had yet to be uncovered and that such was the size of the problem that as many as one in six children - 1.9 million - might be a victim of abuse. Detectives describe the 30,000 Britons currently on the sex offenders register as the tip of the iceberg.
Last night former glam-rock singer Glitter, whose real name is Paul Gadd, had yet to sign the register or notify police of where he plans to live in Britain, despite being given a deadline of tomorrow by police.
The 64-year-old arrived in the UK after being freed from a Vietnamese prison after serving two years and nine months for sexually abusing two girls aged 10 and 11.
The Observer has learned that British police failed to issue an official warning to police in other countries that the convicted sex offender planned to travel abroad in 2001, a failure that experts say made it easier for Glitter to reoffend. He was placed on the sex offenders register in 1999 for seven years after he was jailed in the UK for four months for possessing 4,000 images of child abuse.
Sources from Interpol have revealed that UK police should have contacted them to issue a ‘green notice’, an official international warning that alerts foreign forces to the movements of a sex abuser deemed likely to reoffend in other countries. If a green notice had been ordered, Glitter would have been met by police wherever he travelled - officers greeted him when he arrived at Heathrow Airport on Friday.
Glitter was expelled from Cambodia in 2002 after allegations of sex crimes against children, and moved to Vung Tau in Vietnam, where he was convicted in 2006 of abusing two under-age girls who initially made allegations of rape against him, although eventually Glitter stood trial accused of obscene acts with children.
Kristin Kvigne, head of the child abuse unit at Interpol, said: ‘Green notices are being gravely underused by too many countries. We feel there is a responsibility to protect children in other countries and that is why they are a useful tool.’
The issue of ensuring that countries including the UK issue more green notices to prevent paedophiles reoffending will be raised at Interpol’s general assembly in Russia this October. ‘We are trying to encourage more police forces to use them,’ admitted Gillings.
Of concern to detectives are the increasing numbers of babies and ‘non-verbal’ victims being preyed upon by paedophiles aware that many abusers are caught after their victims tell adults they have been targeted. Gillings said: ‘We have seen an increase in images of “pre-verbal” victims who are being deliberately groomed because they cannot describe their abuse. They are part of a trend towards more images of younger and younger victims.’
She added that the actual images were becoming more depraved, with greater quantities of ‘level-five’ pictures - involving sadism or an animal - being found by officers tracking online paedophile networks. A Northamptonshire couple were jailed three months ago for abusing a four-month-old baby girl and disseminating footage of the abuse on the internet. Officers from CEOP were tipped off by the FBI, who had arrested an American paedophile who had film on his computer of the baby being abused.
During the past year more than 130 British children have been rescued by CEOP officials from paedophiles, the majority from their own homes.
Last week it emerged that another 15 British children have been saved from a life of sexual abuse after undercover police infiltrated a global internet paedophile ring. Philip Thompson, 27, from Cleveland, called the ‘librarian’ by police, was given an indeterminate prison sentence and must serve at least three years and nine months. Officers recovered a million images and films of children stored on his computer which he distributed to thousands of members, most of them British. The CEOP helpline receives hundreds of calls a month from children who believe they have been approached by a paedophile on the internet.
Although Thompson fitted the image of a dysfunctional loner, Stevens said many paedophiles often seemed respectable. ‘Look at the professions of the people we are arresting - police officers, teachers and those who are often closely involved with children’s groups, helping Cubs, Brownies, sporting clubs.
‘In fact, the more respectable someone is can make them more dangerous by making it easier for them to gain the trust of their intended victim. We need to get every aspect of society to understand that this is a massive problem,’ Stevens said.
Restricted Scotland Yard documents reveal that Britain’s child abusers are predominantly white males aged 36 to 45. Almost all have no previous convictions of sexual abuse. Those recently caught include teachers, politicians, accountants, police officers and lawyers. Many are family men who make victims of their own children. ‘This isn’t a crime limited to any special classes or young and old, although it is true that white middle-aged men are those we predominantly see abusing children,’ said Warnock.
Detectives believe that the proliferation of child abuse sites has created more paedophiles than they would otherwise expect. A ‘spiral of abuse’ has been identified by CEOP whereby paedophiles are initially satisfied by searching for images until eventually they desire ‘contact’, actual physical sexual abuse.
Warnock said: ‘The internet has brought opportunities for paedophiles to glorify and revictimise. They enjoy and share images and this can normalise behaviour.’
This week officers from the Met’s paedophile unit will continue to pose in chatrooms as children to lure predatory paedophiles to reveal themselves. Since the Yard began using undercover officers in online forums in 2006, scores of arrests have been made. Sources say it has been another ‘busy summer’, with the long school holidays a prime time for those who prey on children.


  • On 30th Sep 2008 at 03:00 PM Barbara said...

    This is why I chose to forgive the police and social services for what they did to me. I want them to do something about this and I told them so in my letters.

  • On 17th Dec 2008 at 12:32 AM Mrs Marguerite White said...

    I think that the internet has made this problem worse for children,though the internet is good for imformation it breeds perversion and once that starts its never going to stop.I think that the paedophiles will never be cured of there depravation so just electrocute them and get rid of them.There is to much abuse on children,I know it wasnt perfect years ago in victorian days,but we are suppose to be more aware and civilised in todays society but there are still beasts who lurk in our midst,I feel very sorry for children if it isnt someone killing them kidnapping and raping or even sexual and torture in there own homes when will there be an end to our children suffering at the hands of sickos and beasts something has to be done..I have read of some terrible things happening to children and they should have a safe happy life with people looking after them not grooming them for there perversions,just castrate them all and be damned,

  • On 9th Jan 2009 at 12:13 PM Barbara said...

    "I think that the paedophiles will never be cured of there depravation so just electrocute them and get rid of them."

    Lethal injection, but I agree.

    Only trouble is, that the worst offenders as far as I can see are people in positions of authority. They are getting away with it, because the freemason policies of "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" is perverting justice.

    I wish all the people who hate evil who are in the freemasons would all leave that club, or something. I know some of them have already left, but they need to shout about what is going on, no more secrecy. THe child abusers thrive on secrecy, like nasty things creeping round in the night. They really are like nasty creeping insects.

  • On 30th Dec 2010 at 05:41 AM family practitioner said...

    This scares me. I have a young child and articles like this are why we don't trust daycares, churches, preschools, etc. You never know how these people really are. The biggest pervs and usually the most normal looking people. I wish we could someone how find every pedophile and line them up with a good ole fashion firing line.

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