Police arrest 320 of UK’s most dangerous child sex offenders since first lockdown

Online predators have been warned that they will be tracked down by investigators

Investigators have arrested 320 of the UK’s most dangerous child sex offenders since the first coronavirus lockdown, it has been revealed.

The round-up formed part of a nationwide police operation to target online predators during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has seen internet usage soar, including for home learning with schools closed.

It led to a total of 4,760 arrests and saw 6,500 children protected between April and September last year.

The figures were released as the Home Office launched a national initiative focused on collecting more detailed data about child grooming gangs.

The Tackling Child Sexual Abuse Strategy aims to identify and convict offenders who operate in groups by gathering more information about the characteristics of gangs, including their ethnicity.

It also involves investing in the national child abuse image database to more quickly identify offenders, protecting police from frequently being exposed to indecent images, and enabling parents to ask officers if someone with access to their child is known to them for cases of abuse.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said victims of child sexual abuse had told her they feel “let down by the state” and that she was “determined to put this right”.

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