The number of people of public prominence or in institutions believed to have committed historical child abuse offences has increased substantially in the past nine months, new figures have revealed.
Increasing understanding: Simon Bailey
The statistics, collated from police forces across the UK under Operation Hydrant, show that, as of February 1, there were 2,328 alleged offenders, 895 more than at the end of May last year.
Hydrant was set up in the summer of 2014 by the national policing lead for child protection and abuse investigations Chief Constable Simon Bailey as a coordination hub overseeing investigation of non-recent child sexual abuse allegations within organisations or by those in the public eye.
Around ten per cent (298) of the 2,328 alleged offenders are deceased. Of these, 1,585 are within institutions and 319 are classed as persons of public prominence. The list includes 157 from the world of TV, film, or radio, 91 politicians (local as well as national), 44 people from the music industry and 18 from the world of sport.
Mr Bailey said the operation ensures the service has a full understanding of the scale of historical child sexual exploitation and that officers undertaking these investigations within forces are provided with central guidance, expertise and access to learning and best practice.
“It is also important to note that the offences which fall under our remit are an extremely small percentage of the overall cases of child sexual abuse which the service responds to on a daily basis – most of which is committed within an interfamilial setting by someone related to or known to the child,” he said.
Approximately a quarter of offenders (580) are unknown or identified.
Almost 850 different institutions are listed under Operation Hydrant, these include: 320 schools; 227 children’s homes; 96 religious institutions; 42 medical establishments; 26 prisons / young offenders’ institutes; 24 sports venues; and 11 institutions in communities (youth clubs, community centres).