Suspected paedophiles caught buying child porn on the Internet could be let off with a caution under new guidelines issued to police officers at Scotland Yard, reports say.
Only suspects found with more than 16 images of child porn on their computer, or with relevant previous convictions, face charges and prosecution, according to The Sun.
The "case disposal" policy - drawn up following advice from the Crown Prosecution Service - advises officers probing possible offenders as to what evidence is needed to get the case to court.
A spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said police chiefs had approached their lawyers for advice following Operation Ore, in which US officials gave British officers the names of more than 7,000 men who had paid to surf a child pornography website.
But he said that the CPS would still offer advice to officers on how individual cases should be handled.
And all that was left was hope