Suffolk: Children’s charity calls for immediate action after 29 people arrest in county for possessing indecent images

A CHILDREN’S charity has called for urgent action after it was revealed 29 people were arrested in Suffolk last year for possessing or trading indecent images of children.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) obtained the figures following a Freedom of Information (FoI) request to Suffolk Constabulary.

However, it was unable to find out exactly how many pictures of children the police had come across in their investigations because there were too many.

The 29 offenders were arrested between April 2011 and April 2012 in Suffolk for taking, possessing or distributing indecent images of children.

The NSPCC says the figures are part of a steep rise in crimes of this nature on a national scale. According to the charity, since 1995 the number of people convicted in England and Wales has risen more than 1,700 per cent from 85 to 1,495 last year.

The NSPCC’s head of service for the East of England, Dan Russell, said: “The truly awful thing is that more and more children are being abused so these pictures can be produced and once in circulation they may stay there for many years.

“If we can halt this vile trade we will be saving countless children from suffering sexual assaults which have a huge impact on their lives.

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“The authorities are working hard to clamp down on this but there are still far too many pictures available.

“It’s time the government and industry got together to find an answer to this corrosive problem which cannot be allowed to continue.”

The NSPCC says the widespread use of the internet has made it easier for indecent images to be distributed.

Home Office figures from 1990 – before the internet – show there were an estimated 7,000 hard copy images in circulation across England and Wales.

Now, according to the NSPCC, at least five times that amount are being confiscated every single day.

In some investigations the sheer scale of images is so immense that police concentrate on a sample. The pictures are graded from level one – the lowest – to category five.

The charity says many of the pictures involve children under 10 and even babies appear in some.

Secretary of the Children’s Charities’ Coalition on Internet Safety, John Carr, added: “Some of those who are caught with these abusive images say they had a sexual interest in children but had been too scared to do anything about it until the internet came along – then it opened the door for them.

“And, once they’re in, they crave more sickening levels of abuse. It’s not unknown for an offender to go very quickly from viewing pictures of secondary school children to images of three-year-olds.

“These numbers beggar belief but we need to face up to the realities of the situation and find better, more effective ways of tackling it.”