Online child sex crimes up 14% in Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire Police has seen a 14% rise in online child sex offences over the last year.

A total of 226 were reported to police in 2019/20, up from 119 in the previous year.

Of the eight police forces in the Midlands region, Lincolnshire is one of just three to see a rise in offences.

The county figures were only slightly lower than the national average, which saw a 16% rise to 10,391.

The data was obtained by the NSPCC and looked at available crime cases of an online nature reported to police.

This includes grooming, sexual assault and rape that had a cyber element to it.

These findings come just under a month after it was discovered that all child sex offences were up 74% in Lincolnshire.

The NSPCC also saw that risks to children online increased and contacts to Childline went up during lockdown.

The charity is calling on government to publish an Online Harms Bill by the end of 2021 in response to the rising figures.

Detective Superintendent Martin Parker at Lincolnshire Police said: “The rise in online child sex crimes in Lincolnshire is a worrying trend to what is an aberrant crime. However, there are a number of reasons for this rise.

“The East Midlands Special Operations Unit have actively targeted more offenders online and local forces have brought them to justice.

“There has been an increase in Online Child Activist Groups (OCAG), previously known as Paedophile hunters groups within Lincolnshire.

“Lincolnshire Police Online Investigation Team has become more active in scanning the internet for offenders and bringing them to justice and the activities and referrals of the National Crime Agency have also increased over the last 12 months.

“Lincolnshire Police takes all reports of online sex crime seriously and will continue to pursue and prevent offending behaviour, whilst doing our utmost to protect and support the victims.”

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