The NSPCC has revealed that the number of child abuse image offences recorded by police in the UK rose by almost a quarter in a year to 22,724.
New figures obtained via Freedom of Information requests to police forces found an offence was recorded on average every 23 minutes in 2017/18. In Yorkshire, police recorded 4,631 offences in the last two years (2016/18). There was a 40% increase from last year, with 1,928 offences recorded in 2016/17 and 2,703 crimes this year.
In one case in August, Colin Appleyard, of Great Horton, Bradford, was jailed for 44 months at Bradford Crown Court for possessing more than 24,000 indecent images and videos of children.
The charity is warning that offenders are using social networks to target children for abuse online, grooming and manipulating them into sending naked images.
The NSPCC’s #WildWestWeb campaign is calling on Government to prevent abuse from happening in the first place by introducing an independent regulator to hold social networks to account and tackle grooming to cut off the supply of these images at source.
Tony Stower, NSPCC’s head of child safety online, said: “Every one of these images represents a real child who has been groomed and abused to supply the demand of this appalling trade.
“The lack of adequate protections on social networks has given offenders all too easy access to children to target and abuse. This is the last chance saloon for social networks on whose platforms this abuse is often taking place.
“Our Wild West Web campaign is calling on Government to introduce a tough independent regulator to hold social networks to account and tackle grooming to cut off supply of these images at source.”