Britain's most senior police officer has dismissed claims that the investigation prompted by the Jimmy Savile abuse scandal has turned into a witch hunt.
It follows comments by former newspaper tycoon Eddy Shah, recently cleared of raping a schoolgirl in the 1990s, who also told BBC Radio 5 Live at the weekend that the inquiry was mostly "based on emotion".
However, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe defended the probe, Operation Yewtree, saying sex crime claims could not be ignored.
He said: "I don't think it's a witch hunt at all, we're just going where the evidence takes us and victims are making allegations. The alternative is to ignore them, and if you look at Yewtree the broad allegation is that they have been ignored for 20, 30 years and if we were to ignore them now that would just compound the issue.
"These things are hard to investigate. Obviously it's a serious issue for the suspect who's under investigation after that time, but we don't take these things on lightly, and we do try to keep it confidential.
"If you look at all the debate there's been about Jimmy Savile, for example, this man for 30 years appears to have attacked many victims and no one listened. Is it wrong to pursue it now?"
On Monday, an 80-year-old man became the 14th person to be arrested under Operation Yewtree, which was launched in the wake of abuse claims against the late TV presenter Savile.
The first arrest in the inquiry was former pop star Gary Glitter, who was held on October 28 and was recently rebailed until November this year.
Another eight men remain on police bail including comedians Jim Davidson and Freddie Starr and TV presenter Rolf Harris.
Sir Bernard said: "It's very clear that a vulnerable victim, and that includes children, should expect the protection of the police and the court system. I don't agree that you can say that a child can be blamed for being the victim of a sexual attack. I can't agree with anyone who expresses that view."