Child porn addicts are warned to stop burying their heads in the sand as police launch a new drive to track them down

PUBLISHED: 17:14 09 May 2017 | UPDATED: 17:13 10 May 2017

Police launch Netsafe to track down people accessing online child porn PHOTO: Pexels

Police launch Netsafe to track down people accessing online child porn PHOTO: Pexels

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People who access online child porn have been warned to stop burying their heads in the sand - a knock on the door will happen at some point if you do not stop your illegal behaviour.

Six police forces across Eastern England have launched Operation NetSafe in a bid to tackle online viewing of child sexual abuse images.

The operation comes amid figures that show Cambridge had the most people visiting a Stop It Now website with offers support for people worried about their online child porn habit.

• A total of 205 people in Cambridge called the Stop It Now website from March 2015 to March 2016.

• In that time 20 from Ely visited the site.

• 22 people from March visited.

• 13 others visited who listed they were from “other” in the area.

• The second highest number of people visiting the website was in Norwich with 201 seeking help.

Simon Bailey, national police chiefs’ council lead for child protection, said: “Police services across the UK are dealing with an unprecedented volume of child sexual abuse reports, including online indecent images and these numbers continue to rise.

“Child sexual abuse is a crime and so is possessing images of that abuse. Often offenders convince themselves that as the images already exist there isn’t a victim as they don’t have direct contact with the children or young people involved.

“But these children were abused and exploited to make these images and are further victimised every time those images are viewed.

“Police forces are responding to the threat, and we have to consider different approaches such as rehabilitation and treatments as well as prosecution to deal with offenders to ensure children are safeguarded.

Donald Findlater, safeguarding consultant at The Lucy Faithfull Foundation, said: “Too many men seem to think that it is alright to view sexual images of under-18s online.

“They may do this as part of an adult pornography habit or they may have an established sexual interest in children that needs addressing urgently.

“But whatever the reason, they need to stop and stay stopped.

“In our work with those arrested for such viewing and sharing sexual images of children online, we often hear that they did not think they were doing any harm.

“Police are increasing their capacity to tackle this crime. The chances of getting caught have never been higher.

“The consequences of getting caught can be severe for families and for offenders themselves.

“Those offending online must not bury their heads in the sand. That knock on the door will come if they do not stop their illegal and harmful behaviour.

“For those men who are struggling with what they see as an addiction to pornography, including sexual images of under 18’s, confidential and effective help is available from Stop it Now! via 0808 1000 900 or by visiting the Stop it Now! website.”

Chief constable Bailey said more than 100,000 individuals from across the UK were regularly accessing indecent images of children online.

Forces from Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire are tackling the issue.

The operation is being conducted in partnership with child protection charity, The Lucy Faithfull Foundation.

Their staff, including former probation officers, social workers, psychologists and police officers, help prevent child sexual abuse through work with victims, families and sex offenders themselves.

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