Numbers caught with indecent images on rise
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.