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Child sexual grooming reports in Essex nearly treble in a year

NSPCC chief Peter Wanless has called on the Government to do more

The number of child sexual grooming offences in Essex has almost trebled in the space of a year.

Figures from Essex Police, which were obtained by the NSPCC, show there were 166 reported offences in the year to April 2019 – up from 60 in the previous 12 months.

Record numbers of victims are also being targeted through Instagram, which had more than double the number of incidents in the year to April 2019.

Snapchat and Facebook-owned apps of Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp accounted for 70% of offences in the county.

Peter Wanless, NSPCC Chief Executive, said: “It’s now clearer than ever that Government has no time to lose in getting tough on these tech firms.

“Despite the huge amount of pressure that social networks have come under to put basic protections in place, children are being groomed and abused on their platforms every single day.

“These figures are yet more evidence that social networks simply won’t act unless they are forced to by law. The Government needs to stand firm and bring in regulation without delay.”

The data comes from Essex Police, and therefore does not include places such as Havering and Barking and Dagenham.

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