THIRTY-FOUR suspected paedophiles have been arrested in the Thames Valley as part of a national police operation.
The six month national operation is the first of its kind and focused on those using the internet to access indecent images of children.
More than ten children in the Thames Valley Police [TVP] area, which covers Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire, have been safeguarded as a result.
Assistant chief constable for TVP, John Campbell, said: "This operation has seen a great deal of work being done, both in the Thames Valley and nationally, as all the forces involved came together to tackle those who would seek to sexually exploit children.
"As part of the operation, we were provided with intelligence from the National Crime Agency [NCA] that allowed us to focus our investigations over the past six months, identifying both suspects and victims.
"I hope that this operation sends out a clear message to anyone who seeks to sexually exploit and abuse children and young people using the internet as a medium, that the internet is no longer a faceless void that allows those to prey on the most vulnerable members of our society.
NCA has co-ordinated the operation with all 45 forces in the UK, leading to 660 arrests and the safeguarding of more than 400 children.
ACC Campbell added: "This operation focuses on just one area that we must be vigilant to if we are to protect our children and bring suspected abusers to justice."
At this time the NCA and its partners are not revealing the methods used to track down suspects so they can use the same tactics in the future.
If you have concerns about a child or young person, or if you are a child or young person and someone has asked you to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable either on or offline, you can report through the CEOP safety centre at www.ceop.police.uk CEOP's Thinkuknow programme provides information for children, young people, parents and carers about staying safe online and preventing sexual abuse and exploitation. Parents and carers can visit www.thinkuknow.co.uk for advice on keeping their children safe.
If you are a child and you want to speak to someone in confidence about any issue that is upsetting you, you can contact ChildLine on 0800 1111 or go to www.childline.org.uk to chat to a counsellor in confidence.
If you are an adult and you have concerns about a child you can speak to the NSPCC adult helpline on 0808 800 5000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org