A probe initiated by the UK national police that focused on historical child sex abuse cases revealed Britain has over 1,400 suspects. They were described as “people of public prominence” who included politicians, celebrities and sport stars.
Chief constable Simon Bailey, who leads Operation Hydrant, the team set up by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) to look into historical child sex abuses, said that of the 1,433 identified suspects, 135 were in the TV, film or radio industry, 76 were politicians involved in both local and national politics, 43 from the music industry and seven were sport stars. Some 216 from the total figure have died. The report covered allegations that started from the 1970s.
As to where the abuses took place, victims reported it covered almost everywhere, covering hundreds of institutions that included 154 schools, 75 children’s homes, 40 religious institutions, 14 medical establishments, 11 community groups, nine prisons or young offender institutions, nine sports venues and 28 other places including military establishments.
Operation Hydrant got established following the death of prominent radio disc jockey and TV star Jimmy Savile. A 2012 ITV documentary on one of the most beloved figures in British entertainment revealed Savile had been a serial sex abuser, abusing children in various places – even hospital – for decades. He reportedly abused children as young as five or eight.
“We are seeing an unprecedented increase in the number of reports that are coming forward.” Home Secretary Theresa May said she expects more allegations to come in the next months. Bailey expects his team to receive an estimated 116,000 reports of child sexual abuse this year. This could represent a 71 percent jump over 2012.
Operation Hydrant gathered its figures from police forces in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. It does not conduct investigations.
Bailey said the Operation Hydrant team is now working to create a database where intelligence and evidence of abuse will be coordinated to prevent the mistakes committed in the Savile case. It was believed that intelligence and information got buried in the system, presumably to prevent leaks.
“That particular case showed mistakes were made and he was able to go on and continue further abusing. The whole idea is that we don’t make those mistakes again,” Bailey said.
To date Operation Hydrant has received reports of:
1433 suspects of which 216 are deceased
666 suspects related to institutions
261 classified as people of public prominence
506 are classified as unidentified
357 institutions have been identified within the scope of the operation.