Police have investigated more than 1,400 suspects in their probe into the alleged historic child sex abuse allegations against VIPs including politicians, celebrities and institutions.
Operation Hydrant, the group set up by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) to explore links between investigations by different police forces into “prominent public persons” alleged to have committed child sex abuse, revealed the figures.
Out of the 1,433 suspects identified, 216 are now dead.
The group's chair, Norfolk Chief Constable Simon Bailey, said at a briefing: “The referrals are increasing on an almost daily basis. The numbers I refer to today are a snapshot in time.”
He said a group of 261 people had been classified as “people of public prominence”, of which 135 are in the TV, film or radio industry, 76 were listed as politicians, 43 are from the music industry and seven in the world of sport.
Mr Bailey continued: “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 dealing with more and more allegations."
It is now projected that around 116,000 reports of historic child sex abuse will have been made to the police by the end of this year, an increase of 71 per cent from 2012, Mr Bailey said.
There is no specific figure for the number of victims, but Mr Bailey said it will run into the thousands.
The current figures from Operation Hydrant have been taken from police forces in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and relate to reports and investigations of abuse dealt with by police in the summer of 2014.
Of the 1,433 suspects Mr Bailey said of this total 666 people were related to institutions.
This has led to 357 separate institutions being identified by the operation, 154 of which are schools, with a further 75 identified as children's homes and named as 40 religious institutions.
A further 14 have been identified as 14 medical establishments, with 11 named as institutions within communities. There are also nine prisons identified, nine sports venues and 28 other institutions including military groups and guest houses. A total of 17 have been classified as unknown.
Mr Bailey said the 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.”
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From the archives
Kincora: Sex racket at children's home (Irish Independent, 1980)
Independent News Service