Bradford: 27 men arrested in connection with online child sexual exploitation

19 May 2020, 12:37 | Updated: 19 May 2020, 12:46

Police in Bradford have arrested 27 boys and men in connection with online child exploitation
Police in Bradford have arrested 27 boys and men in connection with online child exploitation. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

A group of 27 boys and men have been arrested in Bradford, Yorkshire, in connection with online child sexual exploitation as part of a major police operation.

The group of males, aged between 16 and 57, were all questioned following arrests at a number of addresses across Yorkshire on Tuesday.

West Yorkshire Police said more than 60 devices were seized for further investigation and safeguarding measures for 26 children have been put in place.

Warrants were executed in response to information about people suspected of possessing indecent material of children or using devices - such as computers and mobile phones - to contact children.

Those arrested were later released under investigation or bailed pending further inquiries, a spokesman for the constabulary said.

Detective Chief Inspector Alan Weekes said: "Targeted operations like these demonstrate that we take the online sexual exploitation of children in Bradford district seriously and that we will take action against offenders and safeguard those children they have attempted to exploit.

"The Policing Online Investigations Team in Bradford is committed to tackling this area of criminality in the district and will continue to work with partners and the public to identify and arrest suspects.

"We urge parents and carers, particularly in the current climate where children are spending more time at home, to regularly monitor their children's devices and report any concerns to the police or partner agencies, so these can be investigated fully.

"We would also warn anyone attempting to contact children online that they cannot hide behind their mobile phone or internet use and that we will take action to make sure children can use the internet more safely."

Adrian Farley, executive member for children and families at Bradford Metropolitan District Council, said: "It's a good result that the police have made these arrests.

"It sends out a strong message to anyone thinking of committing these sorts of crimes that grooming children online will not be tolerated, particularly at this time when children are spending more time online because of the coronavirus lockdown.

"It also shows that when partners and the public let the police know of potential offences, action can and will be taken."

Happening Now