Over 30 child grooming cases in Lincolnshire since new law was brought in

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Lincolnshire Police have recorded over 30 offences of child grooming in the county in the first six months since the government introduced a new anti-grooming law.

Figures released by children’s charity NSPCC show that 34 offences of Sexual Communication with a Child were recorded by the force after the new law came into force on April 3.

Nationally, more than 1,300 child grooming crimes have been recorded in the first six months of the new offence.

The NSPCC is now calling on government and social networks to develop technology already at their disposal to prevent grooming, and bring in grooming alerts for victims and moderators.

The majority of victims in Lincolnshire (22) were aged 12-15.

Before the new law came into force, police could not intervene until groomers met their victims.

In 2015, former England footballer Adam Johnson sent sexual messages to a 15-year-old girl, before meeting her and engaging in sexual activity.

Tony Stower, NSPCC head of Child Safety Online, said: “Despite the staggering number of grooming offences in just six months, government and social networks are not properly working together and using all the tools available to stop this crime from happening.

“Government’s Internet Safety Strategy must require social networks to build in technology to keep their young users safe, rather than relying on police to step in once harm has already been done.

“If government makes a code for social networks that is entirely optional and includes no requirement for platforms to tackle grooming, this is a massive missed opportunity and children will continue to be put at risk.”