Police record 86 cases of child grooming in Nottinghamshire in first year of new law

Social media was one of the main platforms used by child groomers
Social media was one of the main platforms used by child groomers

Nottinghamshire Police recorded 86 offences of Sexual Communication with a Child during in the first year since a new anti-grooming law came into force.

More than 3,000 offences have been recorded in England and Wales overall with the youngest child targeted aged just five.

The new crime of Sexual Communication with a Child came into force on April 3, 2017 following an NSPCC campaign, and in the first year a total of 3,171 crimes were recorded by police – amounting to nine grooming offences per day.

Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram were the top three most-recorded sites out of 80 different methods used in grooming offences.

The majority of offences – 48 – recorded by Nottinghamshire Police involved victims aged 15 and under and 44 crimes in the county involvedFacebook, Snapchat or Instagram .

Following the NSPCC’s #WildWestWeb campaign, Digital Secretary Matt Hancock MP announced that laws will be brought in to regulate social networks, to keep children safe and prevent harms such as grooming.

The NSPCC is now campaigning to ensure those laws are sufficiently robust to prevent grooming and to truly keep children safe.

The charity is calling on the Government to create mandatory safety rules that social networks are legally required to follow, establish an independent regulator to enforce safety laws and fine non-compliant sites, require social media sites to publish annual safety reports and force platforms to develop technology to detect grooming using algorithms.