339 suspected paedophiles have been arrested by Police Scotland since April 2013 in ongoing operations to keep the most vulnerable people safe and in detecting criminals who prey on them.
The service has dedicated resources specialising in this area of highly sensitive policing.
Since the introduction of Police Scotland, enforcement targeting online paedophiles has been carried out in every one of the country’s 14 policing divisions. This includes 13 people arrested during the enforcement highlighted today by the National Crime Agency (NCA).
Assistant Chief Constable Malcolm Graham said: “There is no hiding place for criminals who offend by targeting the most vulnerable in our communities by committing sexual abuse which includes abuse committed and viewed via the internet for their own gratification or the gratification of others.
“The police service in Scotland has a strong track record of catching offenders going back to Operation Alba, which was the first nationally co-ordinated activity of its kind in Scotland.
“Over the past five years and through the formation of the single service our focus has been on making sure we proactively use new technologies and a full range of investigative techniques to prevent paedophiles using the internet to exploit the vulnerable and cause harm.
“Police Scotland has co-operated with the NCA operation which is another example of how law enforcement can successfully work together to combat the online threat.
“Police Scotland has and continues to make a sustained effort to tackle offending in communities across Scotland have been arrested and charged with a wide range of crimes which have sought to exploit children. There is no place in any law abiding community for this behaviour and we will use every method at our disposal to trace those responsible and deal with them.”
Detective Superintendent Steven Wilson, Specialist Crime Division Cybercrime unit, said: “The internet has created an environment where criminals seek new ways to exploit the most vulnerable. Sadly children and young people can be amongst those who become their victims.
“Police Scotland has worked tirelessly to proactively utilise all available new technology to combat the threats posed by online offenders, bring them to justice and protect those who are at risk of falling victim to abuse and exploitation. Those who believe that the internet offers anonymity to exploit children should understand that there is no hiding place, every contact leaves a trace which we will investigate to bring offenders before the courts.”