North Yorkshire Police have arrested 11 men across the county as part of a national crackdown on suspected paedophiles.
More than 650 people have been arrested across the UK as part of Operation Notarise, a national crackdown on people accessing indecent images of children online led by the National Crime Agency (NCA).
The unprecedented six-month operation coordinated has safeguarded more than 400 children across the UK.
North Yorkshire Police say they responded quickly to intelligence provided by the NCA and police have arrested ten individuals to date as part of Operation Notarise.
An 11th associated arrest was also made by North Yorkshire Police which was linked to an existing investigation already underway.
Those arrested span the county and are from the Scarborough, York, Selby, Harrogate, Craven and Richmondshire areas. All are male, white north European and aged between 14 and 70. Some are married, some with children of their own, all of whom have been supported and are subject to child safeguarding arrangements with partner agencies.
Detective Chief Sup Insp Simon Mason, who is Head of Crime and Justice at North Yorkshire Police, said: “This operation targeted suspected paedophiles accessing child abuse images online. Those responsible for such offending believed they were operating in an environment that was safe for them and would go undetected.
“The message is a simple one; no such place exists and perpetrators need to be under no doubt whatsoever that this type of offending will continue to be targeted with every effort made to secure criminal convictions and safeguard the children concerned.”
He added: “We all have a responsibility to protect our children and it is vital that anyone who believes someone is involved in child abuse – which includes viewing images of abuse on their computer or mobile device – tells the police. It cannot , and must not, be kept hidden.”
NCA Deputy Director General Phil Gormley said:“This is the first time the UK has had the capability to coordinate a single targeted operation of this nature. Our aim was to protect children who were victims of, or might be at risk of, sexual exploitation. A child is victimised not only when they are abused and an image is taken. They are re-victimised every time that image is viewed by someone.”
Anyone with any suspicions about child abuse should call the police on 101, or in an emergency call 999.
If you suspect a person is viewing child abuse online or abusing or exploiting children, please call the police on 101. In an emergency always call 999.
If you suspect a child you know is being abused, please call the police on 101.
If you are a victim of abuse yourself, no matter how long ago that abuse took place, do not hesitate to call the police. If you prefer not to talk to the police, you can contact Bridge House, North Yorkshire’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre on 01904 669 339.