An astonishing 30,000 paedophiles are going unpunished even though police possess the technology to identify and arrest them, the former head of the police’s online child abuse unit has told The Telegraph.
In a withering critique, the ex-police chief in charge of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), Peter Davies, said vulnerable children were being subjected to sexual abuse that could be prevented.
Peter Davies, who retired as an assistant chief constable last month allowing him to speak out for the first time, said he was disgusted by and dismayed at the refusal of authorities to tackle the problem.
“I feel like a lone voice in the wilderness,” he said. “There are tens of thousands of people who should be locked up but we don’t know what to do with them.”
Research by CEOP when Mr Davies headed the national unit suggested 50,000 paedophiles in the UK were downloading illegal child sex images and videos.
The unit believes a little over half of those also engage in physical abuse.
Mr Davies said that police possess the technology to identify about 30,000 of the estimated 50,000 offenders, but under current policy the crimes are largely ignored due to a lack of resources.
Mr Davies, who retired as an assistant chief constable last month, said: “I am an old-school police officer and in my opinion we should be going after these offenders and prosecuting them.
“To deal properly with this offending population we need to invest on a scale that would be radical and different. The alternative is we leave these thousands of people to carry on causing terrible harm and I don’t think that is acceptable.”