If you go to Google Inc. images (a special page on the search engine) and type a word, let’s say “tulips” – then examine the page which is returned you will notice that the images are not being served from their location on the Internet. Rather; the search engine appears to serve the image using base64 data. For example an image src attribute might be:
This is a binary, (well, base 64 encoded), representation of the image. In order to do this Google must have read the image data from its source and then translated that into the base64 encoded data which it then serves. The data may or may not be stored for any length of time on Google server’s but it is certainly being served from their servers.
The same experiment can be repeated with other search terms. Given certain sets of search terms child abuse images may be returned. This writer has read one journalist commenting that this is some kind of way to view pornography or other illegal material without being traced. The idea is your IP will not be traced as having accessed the source web site for the image because it hasn’t. Google’s search function is in effect acting as an anonymising proxy. However, quite apart from the moral aspect this does not sound wise. There are myriad ways that the material viewed could be tracked and proven – involving Google sharing data with the authorities or otherwise (e.g. a simple grab of the Internet traffic to your IP). These ways just (it seems) would require authorisation from the Home Secretary. 
However; the question is – why is Google allowed to get away with this? There is not even some kind of ‘report image’ feature on the image search page.
The answer no doubt is because Google Inc. is a large US company. And the one golden rule for the British political ‘elite’ these days is obeisance to US financial power.
While on this subject – Amazon.com Inc sells DVDs which are clearly paedophile material. Try the DVD “look at me” which appears to be a collection of children in swimming pools. Or the film “The Genesis Children” which (based on its Wikipedia entry) is a film featuring a group of adolescent boys (from 12 upwards) running naked around a beach. They are, apparently. naked for much of the film, which has no plot. Or there is the touching story about how a 12 year old in the Philippines fell in love with a police officer. The Genesis Children, for example, has not been passed by the British Board of Film Censors. If you order it from Amazon you may be committing an offence as you are the importer. But – what is the likelihood of a prosecution which would involve Amazon?
This author has just done a (mickey mouse) online “Safeguarding Course”. One of the sections related to “British Values”. One must protect children by modelling “British Values” to them.
This is a case of hypocrisy. British values know well their limit when it comes to US corporations. The course should have said “Model to young people what British values used to be“. Of course – there has always been corruption – but at least at one point perhaps there were some kind of shared values in the UK which might have meant something at least as an ideal that people referenced (obviously different social classes would have had different values and/or a different take on the same values). Now it is just so much spin… The only real British value today is to bow down to American fiscal power, whatever it serves up.
I don’t know if this is up to date and accurate. The legislation in this area has been re-written more than once. It may be a tribunal rather than the Home Secretary is required to authorise a police request to obtain the content of electronic data exchanges. Sorry. I don’t know.