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Child abuse images arrests highlighted in call for clampdown
10:10am Tuesday 16th October 2012 in News
FIFTY-six arrests were made in the West Mercia Police force area during the past year in connection with child abuse images.
The figures, which cover 2011/12, were revealed following a Freedom of Information (FoI) request as the NSPCC called for urgent action to stamp out the illegal trade in child abuse images.
Nationally, nearly 26 million such images have been confiscated in the last two years. That total comes from just five of the 43 police forces in England and Wales which were able to check their records.
A sixth force said it had records of more than 10 million images going back a number of years.
The figures are in stark 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.
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 - 2011.
The 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.
There have been several court cases this year in West Mercia involving indecent images of children.
Sandra Lescott-Robinson, NSPCC regional head for the West Midlands, 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.”
She added: “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.”