UK

Historic Child Sex Abuse Allegations Uncover More Than 260 'Celebrity' Suspects

20/05/2015 15:11 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 16:59 BST

Police probes into historic child sex abuse allegations have uncovered more than 260 celebrity suspects, with more victims coming forward every day.

A total of 1,433 suspects have been identified so far - an "unprecedented" level according to police, who are predicting about 116,000 reports by the end of 2015 - an increase of 71% from 2012.

Of these 1,433, 261 were classified as people of "public prominence", including 135 from the world of TV, film or radio, 76 politicians, 43 members of the music industry and seven sports people.

The figures were revealed by Operation Hydrant, a group set up by the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) to explore links between child sex abuse committed by "prominent public persons".

This includes politicians, celebrities and institutions.

Officers are in no doubt that disgraced DJ and television presenter, Jimmy Savile had an effect on their case load.

Police forces have been criticised in the past for not acting on allegations against Savile when he was alive.

jimmy savile

Police believe that the torrent of accusations against deceased presenter Jimmy Savile has had an effect on their operation

Norfolk Chief Constable Simon Bailey, the NPCC's lead on child protection, said: "The referrals are increasing on an almost daily basis. The numbers I refer to today are a snapshot in time."

Mr Bailey said that out of these 1,433 suspects, 666 relate to institutions and 357 separate institutions have been identified by the operation.

Mr Bailey said: "We are seeing an unprecedented increase in the number of reports that are coming forward.

"That has brought about a step change in the way the service has had to deal with it."

He added: "There is no doubt (Jimmy) Savile has had an effect on us. We are getting dealing with more and more allegations."

Jimmy Savile Abuse Timeline

Out of the 1,433 suspects identified so far, 216 are dead.

Of the 357 different institutions which have been identified by the operation, 154 are schools, 75 children's homes, 40 religious institutions.

It also includes 14 medical establishments, 11 are institutions in communities, nine prisons, nine sports venues and 28 other institutions including military groups and guest houses.

Another 17 institutions are classified as unknown.

Mr Bailey said there is no figure for the number of victims, but said it will run into the thousands.

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He said: "These figures raise the question, is more abuse being perpetrated?

"I don't have the evidence at this moment in time to prove this one way or another."

But he said the internet is being "abused", adding: "I can't help but think more abuse is being perpetuated.

"More research is needed to prove this one way or another."

Police confirmed that a force-by-force breakdown of Hydrant figures will not be made available and no names of suspects on the Hydrant system will be released.

The figures are taken from police forces in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The data relates to reports of abuse, or investigations of abuse, which police forces were dealing with in the summer of 2014.