”We could probably bring in 20 a day. It’s really just a question of limitations to police resources,” said criminal inspector Björn Sellström at the agency’s child porn unit to news agency TT.
The raid was carried out between 6am and 10am on Wednesday morning at different locations countrywide and was coordinated together with 25 other European countries.
The arrested – 11 men and one woman – are under suspicion for aggravated child pornography offences, which could give them up to six years in prison.
According to the police, many confessed as soon as the officers arrived.
”One of them even said: ‘I am glad you’re here’. It isn’t that uncommon. They have become addicted and it is a relief for some to be found out,” said Sellström.
The information about the arrested group came from one of the cooperating countries.
”The intelligence gathering has been carried out in Europe. We’ve received information of IP-addresses, times and material,” Sellström said.
According to the police, they were given 20 IP-addresses from one of their European collaborators. In eight of the cases, however, they were unable to identify the users, for various reasons.
The arrested twelve were identified after sharing child related pornographic material on a file-sharing site.
Images and and films from other raids had been tagged with so called digital fingerprints and the site was then searched. The search generated hits among a number of people, whose IP addresses were collected.
So far, computers and hard drives have been seized. Police are still not certain of how much material they will find.
”From experience I’d say that it could encompass hundreds of thousands of images,” Sellström said.
The people arrested on Wednesday are suspected of possession and of spreading the material, rather than producing it.
”The most likely scenario is that these people are consumers, at the bottom of the pyramid. But consumption implies new production. And that means children being sexually abused,” he said.
That only twelve people were arrested in the most recent police raid, Sellström explained as being because the cooperating counties had chosen to only concentrate on 20 offenders per country.
According to Sellström, lagging police resources lead to limitations, not in the least when it comes to the man-hours needed to go through the immense material.