“Thousands of pedophiles escaping justice”

That’s the stark warning from a recently retired senior police officer in Britain – and if it’s happening there, I’m pretty sure it’s also happening in the USA.

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.

. . .

Police currently have the technology to catch online offenders. But if encryption systems improve, those efforts will be thwarted in the future.

Mr Davies  said there was currently a ‘golden opportunity’ to crack down on thousands of paedophiles but that chance would be missed if encryption techniques improve.

“If this golden window of opportunity is slammed shut in a few years’ time, it might stay shut forever after,” said Mr Davies. “It would not be hard for police to find offenders by the thousands. I can’t tell you the secrets of how that is done.”

But he said resources needed to be made available and urged the Government to rethink its priorities. “We are spending for example billions of pounds on the high speed rail network. But what about the human infrastructure of this generation of children who are being sexually abused?

“And what about the insider threat posed by so many criminals committing such offences unchallenged? It is time we had a public debate about this.”

There’s more at the link.

I take the threat of pedophilia very seriously indeed.  I’ve had all too many opportunities, as a pastor and prison chaplain, to see its devastating, evil effects at first hand.  The damage it does to its young victims is indescribably sickening, particularly in its long-term effects.  Those, like NAMBLA, who argue that children and young people have the ability – much less the right – to ‘decide’ to engage in sexual relationships with adults are not only disingenuous:  as far as I’m concerned, they’re evil personified, and should be dealt with as such.

I worry very much that the situation in the USA is as bad as Britain, proportionally speaking.  Many police and law enforcement agencies devote relatively small resources to the problem of pedophilia, preferring to spend their limited budgets on more ‘public’ crime problems that deal with issues affecting adults.  (Besides, that gathers publicity, which in turn helps them get bigger budgets to deal with such problems.)  Pedophilia is all too often swept under the carpet, metaphorically speaking:  ignored because it isn’t much in the public eye.

I’ve commented before on what should happen to pedophiles, most recently last month.  I won’t repeat it here, except to say again that if guilt is proved beyond doubt (particularly when they’re caught in flagrante delicto), I have no objection whatsoever to a swift, permanent remedy being applied on the spot.  I’ll gladly volunteer to do it myself, if necessary.  There is no excuse for pedophilia, and no cure – except the final, permanent cure for life itself.



  1. I have some knowledge of a case near me 2 years ago that involved multiple perpetrators online – 1 was identified through local resources, but Google refused to identify the other and the county didn't have the resources to push the issue.
    If they knew they would face real punishment for their crimes, would they find other outlets for their passions, or would they do it anyway? I suspect that many of them would not change – and in the words of old Westerns, they 'need killin'.

    On a side note, his bringing encryption into is entangling a separate issue – high quality encryption is (relatively) easy to code; a law requiring all encryption to be breakable by the government would be impossible to enforce completely and would only punish those who comply by making their personal information available to hackers. There are other ways to track communications and bring criminals to justice that don't require compromising everybody's security.

  2. 50,000? That's a number that defies belief. That's (roughly) 1 person in 1,000. I rather suspect he's including those who innocently download such images as part of other porn.

  3. Good point, the number is probably exaggerated for effect – unfortunately, many people in this day and age are willing to use whatever means they think will achieve their goal.

  4. I'm inclined to give the policeman the benefit of the doubt on his numbers. Britain has a rather odd (unofficial) attitude toward paedophilia, and given other recent criminal cases (the sexual assault ring that operated because no official was willing to risk being called "Islamophobic,") a relatively high number wouldn't surprise me. The child marriages among parts of the Islamic population of Britain, for example, would fall under paedophilia.


  5. How many of those 50,0000 are teens who are looking at (and making) videos of each other and themselves? There was a case last year (in one of the Carolinas, IIRC) where two underage teens (a boy and a girl) were arrested for child pornography when the girl filmed herself and sent it to the boy.
    She was charged with producing and distributing child porn, and he was charged with receiving and possessing child porn.
    How does making two children into felons and ruining their lives protecting them from anything?

  6. Sometimes a crime cries out for a punishment that fits; in this case, impalement on a short, barbed stake.

  7. @divemedic: Hopefully it teaches them to not make and send pornographic images. Of anyone.

    That one, I'm afraid, falls under "play stupid games, win stupid prizes."

    1. Yes, hopefully turning otherwise harmless, innocent kids into criminals for the crime of being foolish, young, and (regrettably) sexually active will "teach them" to abide by your view of morality. /sarcasm
       I happen to share your view of morality, in this context at least, but I find your answer here repulsive. Kids making stupid, consensual decisions that I disagree with is a thing that happens regularly. Nonetheless I have never stooped so low as to wish that they would be jailed and marked with the same brush (via the famous "sex offender registry" that lists drunken public urinators alongside child rapists) as a child rapist…just because they made a decision that contradicted my moral code. I never imagined that a person existed who condoned classifying stupid teens engaged in consensual activity as child rapists…because it "taught them" not to violate their moral code. By all means, impale child rapists on a short stake. I'll help! But when you decide that it's acceptable to tar innocents (kids!) with that same brush because their (consensual, though unwise in my opinion) actions make you feel uncomfortable? You have gone off the reservation, as far as I'm concerned. "Play stupid games, win stupid prizes." Yes, and the prize is usually public humiliation, or loss of the phone, or both. Not imprisonment, and/or being classified as a child rapist for the rest of their lives. If you can't see the difference…God help you.

      There's practicality, there's callousness, and then there's "Hopefully [being known as child rapists for the rest of their lives, anywhere they move, any job they try to get, any time they try to join an organization, or get married, or adopt a kid, etc…] teaches them not to make and send [private, personal pictures, that it would be perfectly legal to take and send if they were a few years older]. Of anyone. …"


      Mr. Grant, please forgive me if this is too bold, or too impolite for this forum. I don't mean to be disrespectful to you, sir, in any way whatsoever. Injustice (and excusing, or approving of that injustice, as Feather Blade's comment indicates he/she does) just really pushes my buttons.

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