paedophiles viewing images online - pic for display purposes only

Cheshire Police have arrested dozens of suspected paedophiles in a month-long campaign targeting those who view indecent and abusive images of children online.

The force’s OCAIT (Online Child Abuse Investigation Team) carried out the operation throughout April.

They executed multiple warrants every day to arrest prolific offenders across the county.

They visited 40 addresses in April and 28 people were arrested.

Most have either been bailed or released under investigation while seized devices are examined and the investigations continue.

And 24 children who are connected or related to suspects have been safeguarded.

Other agencies have been informed and appropriate risk assessments have been undertaken.

Over the past four years, viewing indecent images of children online has risen by around 400%.

It’s feared growth was accelerated during the first Covid lockdown in March 2020 as people had more time at home and increased their use of the internet.

Cheshire Police has since expanded its specialist team of officers and staff, more than quadrupling in size from 10 detectives and staff up to 46.

Detective Chief Inspector Gavin Day, who oversees the OCAIT, said: “The Covid pandemic saw a massive rise in both children and offenders having greater access to the internet and the various platforms it provides.

“Where other areas of the Constabulary got quieter as they saw a decrease in offending, we got a lot busier.

“That’s also partly been due to social media companies getting better at picking up on these types of offences and identifying offenders, and then bringing them to our attention.

“Because our team has been so small, it’s not really been possible for us to match this surge and take the action that we need to.

“That’s why this month has been so positive for us as now we have the resources to get out there and lock these offenders up.

“And it doesn’t stop here. We know there are many more people in the county who are accessing this type of material and my message to them is that we are better equipped than ever to find out what you’re up to and take action against you.”

The month of action coincided with the Constabulary joining other police forces in the region to highlight the work of the Lucy Faithful Foundation’s Stop It Now! Helpline.

Donald Findlater, Director of the Stop It Now! helpline, said: “Mostly, the tens of thousands of people in the UK viewing sexual images of children online don’t conform to the stereotypes – they are our friends, family, neighbours and colleagues.

“Many of the people contacting our helpline started out simply looking on mainstream adult pornography sites, but over time they found they needed different or more extreme content.

“Some don’t know the law and need it spelling out.

“A few are struggling with a long-standing sexual interest in children and think that looking at ‘only pictures’ is a way of managing that interest.

“Everyone needs to know that looking at sexual images and videos of under 18s is illegal.

“Children are harmed by it, and serious consequences await those involved in it.

“But that our helpline and website give anonymous, and confidential support and advice to stop and stay stopped.”

If you are concerned about your own or someone else’s online behaviour, contact the Stop It Now! confidential helpline on 0808 1000 900 or visit

(Library pic for display purposes only)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website, to learn more please read our privacy policy.


Captcha * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.