Nottinghamshire Police has taken part in a nationwide operation to help safeguard children by arresting suspected sex offenders.
A total of 660 arrests have been made across England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales today, following an unprecedented six-month operation coordinated by the National Crime Agency.
This has resulted in more than 400 children being taken into care for their protection.
The operation was targeting people who were allegedly accessing indecent images of children online and remained a secret until now to protect children, identify offenders and secure evidence.
Supt Helen Chamberlain, head of Public Protection in Nottinghamshire, said: “We need to do all we can to ensure children are kept safe and are protected from any potential harm.
“The internet is often seen as a wonderful technological advance, but unfortunately there are always some who will look to take advantage of others, and abuse it for their own gratification.
“The force has been working with the NCA to take whatever action is necessary to protect the public. Those who use the internet to abuse children should certainly be looking over their shoulder.”
National Crime Agency Deputy Director General Phil Gormley said this is the first time the UK has had the capability to coordinate a single targeted operation of this nature.
“Our aim was to protect children who were victims of, or might be at risk of, sexual exploitation,” he said.
“A child is victimised not only when they are abused and an image is taken. They are re-victimised every time that image is viewed by someone.
“Some of the people who start by accessing indecent images online go on to abuse children directly. So the operation is not only about catching people who have already offended – it is about influencing potential offenders before they cross that line
“We want those offenders to know that the internet is not a safe anonymous space for accessing indecent images, that they leave a digital footprint, and that law enforcement will find it”.
Reports in the national press suggest that doctors, teachers and foster carers are among those arrested.