The staggering scale of Britain’s dirty paedophilia secret was revealed today as police released the figures behind the long-running VIP child sex abuse inquiry. So far more than 1400 men have been accused of historical crimes, including 135 entertainment stars, 76 politicians and seven sports figures. The Home Secretary has warned that those cases are just “the tip of the iceberg”.
According to the Telegraph 261 well-known figures are being investigated, as are hundreds of sports clubs, schools, children’s homes and religious organisations, by the new police coordinating hub Operation Hydrant. But Chief Constable Simon Bailey said new reports of historical sex abuse were coming in daily, making today’s figures nothing more than a “snap shot in time”.
Mr Bailey, who heads up Norfolk Police and is the lead on child sex abuse for the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC), said the scale of child abuse was “stark”.
He said that police expect to have received 116,000 allegations by the end of the year, fuelled in part by the Jimmy Saville scandal which first broke in 2012 which led to the eventual conviction of fellow celebrities Rolf Harris 85, and Max Clifford, 72 for historical abuse. The number of victims uncovered by the investigation is expected to run into the thousands.
Superfast internet connections, including 4G, were also blamed for making it easier for paedophiles to groom their victims online and share streamed images of abuse taking place. Mr Bailey warned that the internet was making it possible for “more and more” abuse of youngsters to take place.
“We assess there might be 50,000 people who are viewing indecent images of children online,” he said.
Yet child abuse isn’t consigned to the realm of the internet. Officers working within Operation Hydrant have linked 357 institutions to alleged abuse, including 154 schools, 75 children’s homes, 40 religious institutions and nine prisons.
Speaking separately at the Police Federation annual conference in Bournemouth, Home Secretary Theresa May said: “We will need to face up to the changing nature of crime and the impact on police forces, including the much greater reporting of previously ignored or under-reported crimes such as child sexual abuse.
“I have said before that what we are seeing is only the tip of the iceberg.
“So let me be clear, I am committed to ensuring the police have the resources they need to investigate these appalling crimes and bring perpetrators to justice.”
But the government has been accused of failing to provide enough resources for the operation. Police forces have already been forced to shift resources from other departments to cope with the scale of the investigation.
Jon Brown, the lead on tackling sexual abuse at the NSPCC charity said: “There is not enough provision, and as far as adult survivors of abuse are concerned it is extremely patchy.”