LONDON — The head of U.K.'s National Crime Agency says that expecting all of the estimated 50,000 people who regularly access child porn images to be brought to justice is "not realistic."
Instead, without a call asking for additional judicial resources, NCA Director Keith Bristow yesterday said that the agency's priority was to concentrate efforts on the "most dangerous people."
"[I]n my judgment, if there are 50,000 people involved, we won't be able to identify all of them and we won't necessarily be able to bring all of them to justice."
Bristow was referring to the 50,000 people in the U.K. who were recently fingered by the the agency's Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) as those who have downloaded and shared images.
In reaction, the Labour Party called Bristow's comments "disgraceful," adding that the NCA was not fit for dealing with the problem. The Home Office said all crimes should be investigated.
Tim Henning, executive director of the ASACP, said that recent crime statistics point to the fact that online child sexual abuse "is the only crime showing a consistent and dramatic increase in activity worldwide year after year."
"This is partly due to a shift in the way CP is now being disseminated online," Henning told XBIZ. "There has been a shift in recent years that has seen CP go into the dark and hidden recesses of the Internet where a 'give to get' culture is growing and spawning ever increasing abuse of children internationally.
"It is no longer uncommon to see CP busts involving hundreds or even thousands of suspects from all corners of the wired globe and from all walks of life.
"With resources to fight this escalation being tighter than ever before, due to the long lasting global recession, it is not currently possible to address all of the reports of suspected child sexual abuse online today and it is a problem that is getting much worse ... not better."