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The number of suspected paedophiles being arrested has risen in the last year, according to figures today from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop).

The anti-child abuse police organisation said 297 arrests have been made in the last year, three times the number in the organisation's first year. Ceop was set up as a national collaboration between forces in 2006, in a bid to better tackle the complex networks operated by paedophiles online.

Almost one million images of child abuse were processed by Ceop in its second year. Such intelligence gathering led directly to the identification of 18 young victims of abuse.

Over the last 12 months, 131 childen were safeguarded and ten of the UK's highest risk offenders were located via Ceop's "most wanted" website and awareness campaign.

Major operations shut down six paedophile rings, all with international links.

Ceop chief executive Jim Gamble said: "I hope offenders take note. Look at the ways in which together we are infiltrating your worlds, understanding your minds in order to limit deviant behaviour and I hope you think again."

"I want to see more work to convince online operators to demonstrate their commitment to child safety in a clear and unambiguous way." ®

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