Police make 200 child porn arrests

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MORE than 200 child porn arrests have been made across the North East in the past year, according to new figures.

The NSPCC today called for urgent action to stamp out the illegal trade in child abuse images, after figures revealed the scale of the growing problem.

A Freedom of Information requested revealed 211 people were arrested last year in the region – including 62 in Durham and 117 in Northumbria – for taking, possessing or distributing indecent images of children.

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.

In the last two years, nearly 26million child abuse images have been confiscated in England and Wales.

The total comes from just five of the 43 police forces in England and Wales which were able to check their records.

The figures are in contrast to 1990 – before the internet became hugely popular – when the Home Office estimated there were just 7,000 hard copy images in circulation in the UK.

Now, 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.

Pictures are graded from level one – the lowest– to category five, which involves sadism.

Many of the pictures involve children under 10, and even babies appear in some.

Liz Benson, NSPCC regional head of service, said: “The number of these dreadful images is absolutely appalling.

“The truly awful thing is that more and more children are being abused so these pictures can be produced and distributed 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.

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

She added: “There are obviously paedophile rings which make a sordid business of sharing these images.

“But there are now so many in circulation that people from all walks of life are accessing abusive images and getting caught with them.

“They have to understand these are not just images- they are crime scenes and each image is a child being horribly abused.”

John Carr, secretary of the Children’s Charities’ Coalition on Internet Safety, said: “It’s reasonable to assume that as there is a seemingly never-ending conveyor belt of images more children are being abused to satisfy demand.

“And research has shown that the victims are getting younger and younger and are being assaulted in ever more grotesque and violent ways.

“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.”