Dozens arrested across Bradford for online child sexual exploitation in lockdown

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Detectives have arrested 27 people in connection with online child sexual exploitation in Bradford.

The boys and men, aged between 16 and 57, were quizzed following raids at addresses across the city.

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

A force spokesman said warrants were executed in response to reports of people in possession of indecent images of children or using devices such as computers and mobile phones to contact youngsters.

Those arrested were later released under investigation or bailed pending further inquiries.

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.’