Swedish police confirm EU-wide child porn raids

AFP Around 100 suspects have been questioned as part of a crackdown on child pornography on the Internet by police in eight European countries that wound up on Friday, Swedish police said.

“In joint operations between May 2 and 6, police forces in eight countries undertook a series of raids of the homes of people suspected of child pornography crimes,” a police statement said.

National police inspector Annethe Ahlenius, who described the operation, dubbed Callidus, as a “success”, told AFP that several suspects had been arrested, while others had been questioned and had their computers seized.

Hundreds of police officers took part in the raids in Sweden, Britain, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Malta, Norway and Poland, she said.

In Sweden, five police agents were dispatched to the homes of each of 15 suspects who were later questioned.

In Norway, police raided the homes of three suspected child pornography offenders.

In France, around 20 arrests were made, according to the national police.

An initial examination of seized material produced several thousand pictures and around 100 videos containing child pornography.

On Wednesday, Swedish police reported a countrywide raid, and the confiscation of large quantities of digital material from suspects’ homes, but had not mentioned any cooperation with other countries.

About 350 people were netted in raids launched across the Nordic region a year ago, after police traced credit card numbers used to buy child pornography online and put Internet file-swapping services under surveillance.

The latest operation was the result of cooperation between members of a joint police action group, called COSPOL, who first met in the Netherlands in November 2004 to combat Internet-related child pornography offenses.

“We have been in close contact, had meetings. We’ve been cooperating closely ahead of this week’s action,” Ahlenius said.

Callidus was the first operation for the joint task force, she said.

The action group also includes Italy and Ireland, as well as representatives from Europol and Interpol.

Its aim is to track and shut down networks for the distribution, exchange and sale of material linked to sexual abuse of children, find the perpetrators, identify the children and put an end to the abuses, Ahlenius said.

Other similar operations will take place in the future, she said.