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Regional policing operation targets online sex offenders

A POLICING operation involving four police forces in the West Midlands is targeting suspected paedophiles operating online.

Operation Safenet was launched in 2015 by Staffordshire Police who, as part of the Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU) along with Warwickshire Police, West Mercia Police and West Midlands Police, work together to fight serious and organised crime across the region.

The operation, which has been running in Warwickshire and West Mercia Policing areas since January 2016, has been established across the regions to target people accessing indecent images of children online and while the forces are not revealing the methods they use to track down suspects, more than two hundred children have been safeguarded regionally.

Detective Superintendent Damian Barratt from Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police said: "An indecent image of a child is an image of a victim of child abuse. Those who download and exchange illegal images leave a digital footprint and police will trace them. There will be more investigations, more arrests and we will bring more offenders to justice.

"If anyone has information relating to child sexual exploitation or suspicions that someone is using the internet to access indecent images I would urge them to contact police on 101."

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 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/

Visit www.warwickshire.police.uk/operationsafenet or www.westmercia.police.uk/operationsafenet for more information and regular updates on investigations.

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