Warrant served in Banbury area village as part of police operation against online child sexual abuse

Thames Valley Police conducts month-long operation to combat online child sexual abuse

Friday, 2nd April 2021, 1:39 pm
Updated Friday, 2nd April 2021, 1:42 pm
An officer from the TVP Paedophile Online Investigation Team

Thames Valley Police continues to receive referrals from the National Crime Agency and other law enforcement agencies relating to people suspected of accessing child abuse material online.

Thames Valley Police officers carried a month-long operation during March to combat online child sexual abuse, which involved serving warrants as well as carrying out safeguarding visits.

Officers from the force’s Paedophile Online Investigation Team (POLIT), served the warrants at addresses across the Thames Valley area, arresting people who are believed to be involved in online child sexual abuse and seizing items from their homes.

An officer from the TVP Paedophile Online Investigation Team

The TVP press office confirmed at least one warrant was served in the Banbury village of Adderbury.

TVP made 43 referrals with 31 arrests and seized 276 items. Thirty two children have been safeguarded as a result. The activity has been carried out at residential addresses.

The press office has yet to respond to requests for information on any arrests made in the Banbury area, except to say they're checking on it.

Referrals to TVP from the National Crime Agency have risen by 93 per cent in the past 12 months when compared to the same time period in 2018-2019.

An officer from the TVP Paedophile Online Investigation Team

With more and more people currently at home and online due to coronavirus restrictions, the POLIT team has worked to combat those who are looking to exploit this in order to abuse children.

Detective Inspector Jon Axford, of the POLIT team, said: “During the first lockdown last year, there was a well-documented rise in this sort of offending.

“Sadly, we know that there are a number of criminals out there who have tried to take the opportunity afforded to them by the fact that more people are online to sexually exploit children.

“These offenders come from a variety of different backgrounds and situations. Many of them have families of their own, who have no idea whatsoever as to their offending.

“These warrants should serve as a warning to anyone who thinks that this sort of offending is harmless and without consequence. It isn’t. We know exactly who you are, who you are talking to, and we will come to your house and arrest you, in front of your family and loved ones if necessary.

“These warrants are also not a one off. We are constantly monitoring the intelligence we receive and we have an extremely good understanding of who is committing this type of offence.

“Online child sexual abuse causes misery to its victims. The long-term effects of it are horrendous, and can damage people for life. The fact that the abuse is taking place online does not make it any less impactful.

“The message is clear – if you are online abusing or grooming children, you will be caught, you will go on the Sex Offenders’ Register, and you may go to prison. You could lose your job, your friends and your family and have to live with the stigma of your offending for the rest of your life.”

Thames Valley Police work with the Lucy Faithfull Foundation to prevent online child sexual abuse and support the families of those who are identified as offenders. Their Stop It Now campaign provides free, anonymous and confidential support.

If you are concerned for the safety of a child, call Thames Valley Police on 101, or the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000.

If you’re concerned about the sexual behaviour of an adult or a child, call 101 or the Stop it Now helpline on 0808 1000 900.