Child grooming offences have quadrupled in Cambridgeshire over a one year period

PUBLISHED: 17:35 24 October 2017

NSPCC says grooming has quadrupled in Cambridgeshire  PHOTO: John Challicom

NSPCC says grooming has quadrupled in Cambridgeshire PHOTO: John Challicom

Archant

Grooming offences against children have more than quadrupled in Cambridgeshire, shocking figures reveal.

The statistics come amid a report that shows grooming has increased by 64 per cent across England and Wales in just one year.

In Cambridgeshire there were six offences in 2015/6 and in the following year it rose to 26.

Peter Wanless, NSPCC chief executive, said: “More young people are speaking up about sexual grooming, and it’s vital that now more than ever police are given the training and the resources to tackle this issue.

“Groomers need to be stopped before they go to meet their victim, and following the NSPCC’s Flaw in the Law campaign police now have the tools they need to intervene before abuse escalates.

“We all have a part to play in keeping children safe online. The NSPCC’s Net Aware website has useful tools for parents about popular new websites, how to set up privacy controls and how to talk to children about online safety.

This is an enormous rise in recorded grooming offences over such a short period, and the fact that records of grooming offences have increased substantially more than most other crimes shows the need for urgent action.”

From April this year a new offence making it illegal to send a sexual message to a child came into force after a two-year delay, following the NSPCC campaign.

The recorded grooming offences also include the crime of meeting after grooming, which former England Footballer Adam Johnson was convicted of after meeting a 15-year-old fan, with whom he had exchanged sexual messages on WhatsApp.

Home Office figures issued by the Office for National Statistics showed there were 1,771 grooming offences recorded in the year to June, up from 1,080 in the previous year.

Sexual Grooming was one of the most-increased recorded offences over that period.

In the East of England, 217 grooming offences were recorded in the year to June this year, up from 186 in 2015-16.

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