Charity reveals Surrey indecent images arrests total for the last year (From Redhill And Reigate Life)
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Charity reveals Surrey indecent images arrests total for the last year
12:17pm Monday 15th October 2012 in News
Police officers have made 81 arrests in Surrey in the last year relating to indecent images.
The total was revealed by children's charity the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) this week as it called for urgent action to stamp out the illegal trade in child abuse images.
The charity said the Surrey arrests included some where the offenders were caught with more than 5,000 pictures.
But the cause highlighted that Surrey Police was one of only a handful of Forces which could supply the figures.
The charity said in a statement: “In response to a Freedom of Information (FoI) request, Surrey Police said it would take too long to interrogate files to see how many pictures of children being sexually abused they had accumulated during investigations.”
The NSPCC said the latest figures are in “stark contrast” to those for 1990, before the internet became popular.
Then, it said, the Home Office estimated there were just 7,000 hard copy images in circulation across England and Wales. Now, it added, at least five times that amount are being confiscated “every single day.”
The charity's statement continued: “The FoI reveals 81 people were arrested last year in Surrey 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%, from 85 to 1,495 last year.
“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, which involves sadism.
“Many of the pictures involve children under ten, and even babies appear in some.”
The cause flagged up the case of a man in Surrey, who was found guilty of possessing more than 5,000 indecent images and 100 videos, as one of several court cases this year involving what it called “huge amounts of indecent images of children.”
Julie Cole, NSPCC regional head of service for South London and the South-east, said: “The number of these dreadful images is absolutely appalling - and let’s not forget only a handful of police forces could supply figures.”
She 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 said: “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. “It’s time the Government and industry got together to find an answer to this corrosive problem which cannot be allowed to continue.”
Ms Cole continued: “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 getting caught with them. “They have to understand these are not just images - they are crime scenes.”
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.”
He said: “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 who have been bound, gagged and assaulted.”
He added: “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.”
The NSPCC is the UK’s leading children's charity specialising in child protection, with the vision of ending cruelty to children in the UK.
It runs projects and services across the UK and Channel Islands to help vulnerable youngsters and provides ChildLine, the UK’s free, confidential 24-hour helpline and online service for children and young people, and a helpline for adults who are worried about a child or want advice.