Num­bers caught with in­de­cent im­ages on rise

Hinckley Times - - NEWS - CIARAN FAGAN hinck­ley­times@reach­

THE NUM­BER of child abuse im­age of­fences recorded by Le­ices­ter­shire Po­lice has risen.

In the year from 2017 to 2018 there were 411 child abuse im­age of­fences. That’s up from the year 2016 to 2017 when there were 320 child abuse im­age of­fences.

Char­ity the NSPCC asked Le­ices­ter­shire Po­lice for the fig­ures un­der the Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act.

They asked for the same fig­ures from po­lice forces around the coun­try and found that a child abuse im­age of­fence is be­ing recorded by po­lice in the UK ev­ery 23 min­utes. Each of­fence recorded by po­lice can in­volve hun­dreds of in­de­cent im­ages.

Tony Stower, NSPCC’s head of child safety on­line, said: “Ev­ery one of these im­ages rep­re­sents a real child who has been groomed and abused to sup­ply the de­mand of this ap­palling trade.

“The lack of ad­e­quate pro­tec­tions on so­cial net­works has given of­fend­ers all too easy ac­cess to chil­dren to tar­get and abuse. This is the last chance sa­loon for so­cial net­works on whose plat­forms this abuse is of­ten tak­ing place.

“Our Wild West Web cam­paign is call­ing on Gov­ern­ment to in­tro­duce a tough in­de­pen­dent reg­u­la­tor to hold so­cial net­works to ac­count and tackle groom­ing to cut off sup­ply of these im­ages at source.”

Char­ity staff point out that while UK au­thor­i­ties work to re­move child abuse im­ages from the in­ter­net new im­ages are con­stantly up­loaded. In 2017, the In­ter­net Watch Foun­da­tion iden­ti­fied over 78,000 URLs con­tain­ing child sex­ual abuse im­ages.

The NSPCC is highlighting the case of a Le­ices­ter man who was jailed for eight years af­ter pos­ing as young girls on so­cial me­dia to dupe 30 boys into send­ing him in­de­cent pho­tos of them­selves. The 22-year-old set up fake ac­counts us­ing girls’ names such as Chelsea and Court­ney, made con­tact with 10 to 17-year-old boys and then per­suaded them to send him in­de­cent pic­tures. The court was told there were 27 vic­tims but po­lice think the real num­ber may be nearer 100. Some were still be­ing traced when the case went to court. His so­cial me­dia ac­count in­cluded more than 500 mil­lion pages of data.

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