Investigations into indecent images of children increase 50%
Investigations by Suffolk police into crimes involving indecent images of children leapt by 50% in the period including lockdown.
During the six months between January 1 and June 30, Suffolk Constabulary investigated 104 cases involving indecent images of children – up 50% on the same six month period of last year.
Police said at least 95% of the investigations had resulted in prosecution and conviction.
A report providing an update to the constabulary’s approach to children and young people, covering the period of lockdown and the closure of schools due to Covid-19, said policing demand had increased in a number of areas.
During the first six months of 2020, there were six ongoing investigations following warrants executed under Operation Bane – aimed at targeting the sharing indecent images of children.
Meanwhile, eight operations were carried out alongside regional partners to target adults attempting to engage in sexual communication with children, with three suspects charged and five still under investigation.
Last month, music tutor David Brown, formerly of Duke Street, Hintlesham, was jailed for 11 years and one month at Ipswich Crown Court, with an extended licence period of three years, for a string of sex offences against boys as young as seven.
Assistant Chief Constable Rob Jones told a meeting of the police and crime commissioner’s accountability and performance panel: “This is a big and complex problem but we’re taking steps to catch and convict people causing harm.
“The compelling evidence we’re often able to gather is reflected in the seriousness of sentences handed down.
“The sharing of indecent images is very much international in terms of victims.
“A lot of work is done around preventing and pulling down streaming services on the dark web – and we will actively investigate people doing that from Suffolk.
“We executed six warrants during this period and have been gathering digital evidence in order to take these cases to court.”
Mr Jones called the high level of investigations into indecent images concerning, but added: “This is a reflection of how much better we have got at finding these images and making referrals to keep children safe.”
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