Estimated 20,000 British men interested in sexually abusing children
Police chief Simon Bailey says even thousands more detectives would not be enough to bring every offender to justice
The police chief in charge of child protection says tens of thousands of British men have shown an interest in sexually abusing children.
Simon Bailey said investigators monitoring a single online chatroom in 2017 identified 4,000 men using it from the UK alone.
Bailey, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead on child protection, estimated the number of men interested in sexually abusing children at more than 20,000. He said the figure was comparable to the number of current and former terrorism suspects.
He added that limited resources meant not all perpetrators could be tackled, with police forced to focus on the most dangerous offenders. “We are having to prioritise the threat,” he said. “Some lower-level offenders cannot be arrested and taken to court. There is just not the capacity.”
Bailey warned that a growing threat to children came from live streaming and said police wanted a fresh crackdown from tech companies on the use of platforms including Periscope, which is owned by Twitter, and Facebook Live.