17 Arrested In Raids Over Indecent Images

Seventeen people suspected of possessing indecent images of children have been arrested across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Police executed warrants over two days of action this week at addresses across the force area from Farnborough to Freshwater.

Operation Trinity aims to protect children and bring to justice those believed to be accessing and sharing indecent material online.

It is a co-ordinated response to information received by Hampshire Constabulary and none of the suspects are believed to be known to each other.

On Monday and Tuesday, September 12 and 13, a team of 54 police officers:

-executed 13 warrants in the early hours

-arrested 17 people

-seized more than 150 pieces of equipment including computers, cameras and memory sticks

Police believe that 21 children have been safeguarded from potential direct harm as a result.

Detective Superintendent Jason Hogg is head of Hampshire Constabulary's Specialist Investigations Department.

"Our message is clear," he said. "If you're accessing, downloading, sharing or distributing indecent images of children, you cannot hide from us.

"We regularly receive and act on information about this kind of online activity so you can expect a visit from us soon."

Safeguard and protecting children

In the last 12 months, 168 cases of indecent images have been referred to Hampshire Constabulary. Each case has resulted, or will lead to, police action.

Operation Trinity

D/Supt Hogg continued:

 "The possession and distribution of indecent images of children is not a victimless crime and our priority is to safeguard and protect those children who are put at risk. Operation Trinity does so principally by disrupting the lives
of those believed to be accessing this material and so upset the demand for it.

"As well as the police turning up on your doorstep in the early hours, offenders will have to live with the social stigma of the crime which can ruin lives, careers, and family relationships.

"In those cases where we believe children are at direct harm, by living at the address or through the suspect's work for example, we can take steps to prevent that.

"Suspects can be excluded from returning home and we can share evidence of their supposed behaviour with their partners or employers.

"If you suspect someone you know is accessing and/or distributing indecent images of children, let us know. You can contact us on 101 or 999 if you think a child is at direct risk of harm. The more we know, the more we can do about it.

"Ultimately, we want this sort of behaviour to stop. If you're worried about your own sexual thoughts or behaviour towards children, you must get help. You can call the Stop It Now Helpline on 0808 1000 900."