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Operation Safenet

computer and hard drives

#OpSafenet is a policing operation involving four police forces in the West Midlands targeting suspected paedophiles operating online.

Op Safenet - Children Safeguarded
Op Safenet - Children Safeguarded

Op Safenet - Warrants Executed
Op Safenet - Warrants Executed

#OpSafenet is a policing operation involving four police forces in the West Midlands targeting suspected paedophiles operating online.

Warwickshire Police is reminding people viewing sexually explicit images of children online that they are being pursued by officers from a dedicated team set up to protect children from harm - the Online Child Sexual Exploitation Team (OCSET).

Police officers and highly skilled digital forensics staff are proactively tracking people in Warwickshire who are using the internet to view and exchange these images.

The team use the latest digital investigative techniques to identify where illegal images are being viewed. Using this intelligence an application will be made to a magistrate for a search warrant, allowing the police to seize evidence from the home and arrest those involved. 

Det Sgt Matt McNelis said: "Since formation in 2016 we have executed over 300 warrants across Warwickshire and our alliance partner force West Mercia Police and safeguarded 431 children who otherwise may have been at risk of sexual abuse."

Operation Safenet uses the latest mobile based technology to enable us to set up a digital forensics laboratory in the home of the suspect and examine the computers, mobiles, tablets and data storage devices within minutes. The forensics staff work with the police officers in the address to immediately secure evidence for a prosecution and help build the case, so a quick decision can be made in terms of charges and putting the suspect before the courts.

"This triage approach to the evidence means we can immediately take action to prevent further offences and importantly take action to protect any children at risk.

"I want those sending and receiving such images to really think about their actions. Often they think there isn't a victim because they might not have any direct contact with the children in the images, but those children are victims of abuse and were abused to make those images. With colleagues across the region, we will continue to tackle this issue and take enforcement action to protect children until we know children are safe."

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 Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) safety centre at www.ceop.police.uk

The Lucy Faithfull Foundation is a registered child protection charity dedicated to reducing the risk of children being sexually abused. It works with entire families affected by sexual abuse, including adult male and female sexual abusers, young people with inappropriate sexual behaviours, victims of abuse and other family members. More information for adults concerned about their own behaviour, or that of someone they know, is available from http://www.stopitnow.org.uk/

Operational updates of note

The Operation Safenet team obtained and executed a search warrant at a home in Droitwich where it was suspected the occupant had accessed indecent images of children and was actively seeking to groom children online.  David Jackson, a 49 year old businessman, was arrested and later charged with 9 child sex offences. He was sentenced at Worcester Crown Court to 4 years imprisonment.

During a recent week of action the Operation Safenet team executed 6 warrants in 4 days across West Mercia and Warwickshire to protect children and bring offenders to justice.

A 36 year old Kidderminster man was arrested charged and remanded in custody for arranging a child sexual offence and also sexual communication with a child.