§ Mr. Sheerman
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many suspects have been identified and charged using the trawling method by the police in connection with child abuse allegations in the last three years. 
§ Mr. Charles Clarke
The conduct of child abuse investigations is an operational matter for the police. Information on the investigative methods used by the police is not collected centrally.
The police have a duty to investigate all allegations of child abuse thoroughly, and to undertake a complete investigation, pursuing all lines of reasonable inquiry in accordance with the law. When considering whether a charge should be brought, the police must be satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to form the basis of a 60W prosecution, which requires that the offence is capable of being proved beyond reasonable doubt. It is then a matter for the Crown Prosecution Service, an independent body responsible for determining whether a prosecution should proceed, to assess the weight of this evidence, and in particular whether there is any indication that false evidence might have been offered against the individual accused of the crime.