500+ years jail for paedophiles caught by our specialist online team
Paedophiles have been put behind bars for a total of more than 500 years thanks to a specialist Regional Organised Crime Unit working in the West Midlands to snare sex offenders.
The team of officers are active on social media, instant messaging apps and other online platforms looking for people seeking to groom children online – and to intercept them before they’re able to meet youngsters.
Under an operation codenamed Project Atari, which launched in late 2016 / early 2017, the team has achieved nearly 200 convictions against offenders trying to groom children over the internet.
And the collective prison sentences handed down to them has now topped 500 years.
The latest is 28-year-old Hussein Abukar, from Wyndcliff Road in Small Heath, who was jailed for 30 months on Thursday (9 Sept) after admitting arranging the commission of a child sex offence on 31 March.
He sent sexually explicit messages to someone he thought was a 15-year-old boy but was actually an officer working as part of the team.
Abukar arranged to meet the boy at his home address but was met by our officers and arrested.
He was also made subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 10 years and made to sign the sex offenders register indefinitely.
West Midlands ROCU Detective Inspector Steve Wills heads up Op Atari.
He said: “Project Atari’s intention is to safeguard children in the West Midlands. My officers are active continually online to identify sex offenders.
“We want to create an environment of disruption, fear and apprehension amongst people who operate online to sexually abuse children.
“Vigilante ‘paedophile hunter’ groups have emerged in recent years and there seems to be a perception police are not doing this work – but that’s absolutely not the case. We’ve been active online, working alongside social media providers, and protecting children for many years and with great success.”
Everyone has a role to play in protecting children. We’d ask parents to be intrusive in their children’s online activity. Do you know who they are talking to? And if you have suspicions that a child is being groomed then please contact us.
For more information search Online grooming at our website, message us via Live Chat at WMP Online or call us on 101.