Twenty seven males have been arrested in an operation dedicated to tackling online child sexual exploitation in Bradford District.
Detectives from Bradford’s Policing Online Investigation Team (POLIT) executed warrants at addresses across the district in response to information about people suspected of using devices like computers and mobile phones, to contact children or being in possession of indecent material of children.
More than 60 devices were seized for further investigation and safeguarding measures put in place for 26 children.
The arrested males, aged between 16 and 57, were questioned and later released under investigation, or bailed to allow for further enquiries to be made to establish the extent of offending.
Detective Chief Inspector Alan Weekes, said:
Targeted operations like these demonstrate that we take the online sexual exploitation of children in Bradford District seriously and that we will take action against offenders and safeguard those children they have attempted to exploit.
The Policing Online Investigations Team in Bradford is committed to tackling this area of criminality in the district and will continue to work with partners and the public to identify and arrest suspects.
We urge parents and carers, particularly in the current climate where children are spending more time at home, to regularly monitor their children’s devices and report any concerns to the police or partner agencies, so these can be investigated fully.
We would also warn anyone attempting to contact children online that they cannot hide behind their mobile phone or internet use and that we will take action to make sure children can use the internet more safely.
Councillor Adrian Farley, Executive Member for Children and Families, said:
It’s a good result that the police have made these arrests. It sends out a strong message to anyone thinking of committing these sorts of crimes that grooming children online will not be tolerated, particularly at this time when children are spending more time online because of the Coronavirus lockdown. It also shows that when partners and the public let the police know of potential offences, action can and will be taken.