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UK police to target online pervs

Initiative follows the lead of the FBI

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Scotland Yard is targeting Net paedophiles with a monitoring service based on a scheme being used by the FBI. The FBI's Innocent Images squad has led to several successful sting operations. The Home Office reports that over the last two months there have been six arrests of men who were cruising chat rooms trying to attract minors. The idea behind the new operation is to turn the tables, and make the hunter the hunted. Trained agents visit chat rooms and pretend to be teenagers and pre-teens, in an effort to lure the paedophiles into conversation, and eventually into rendezvous, where they will be arrested. According to research conducted by the FBI Behavioural Science Unit, people who commit sex crimes are usually serial offenders, with most having committed thirty or more crimes by the time they are caught, often passing victims around their social circle. The Innocent Images programme has worked exceptionally well, at least in part thanks to the criminals themselves. "They're hungry and stupid," one investigator told The Times. "They won't stop to question why a 13-year-old would be on the Internet in the middle of the day." ®

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