Number of South Yorkshire child porn arrests up 300 per cent since 2010

South Yorkshire Police arrested 540 people on child porn offences between 2010 and 2015
South Yorkshire Police arrested 540 people on child porn offences between 2010 and 2015
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Over 500 people in South Yorkshire have been arrested on suspicion of child porn offences in six years, The Star can reveal.

Figures released by South Yorkshire Police show 540 people were arrested between 2010 and 2015 but just 197 had charges brought against them by the Crown Prosecution Service.

The number of arrests is up by 300 per cent on 2010

The number of arrests is up by 300 per cent on 2010

The force said they could not provide the number of court convictions.

Arrests and charges relate to making, possessing or distributing indecent images of children.

In five years, arrests for child porn offences has risen by more than 300 per cent. In 2010, police made 51 arrests compared to 155 in 2015.

Just 36 per cent of those arrested had charges brought against them by the CPS.

The figures in full

The figures in full

But police chiefs have said officers arrest people on 'suspicion' of someone committing a certain crime but it may later turn out the individual has not done anything wrong.

They argued the number of arrests made and the number of people charged do not take into account those issued a court summons, people who were detained and could still be charged and those who were given a caution.

Children's charity the NSPCC said indecent images and videos 'perpetuates the sickening trade of child abuse' and represents a real person.

Detective Superintendent Natalie Shaw from South Yorkshire Police’s Protecting Vulnerable People Unit said: “We are committed to the protection of children across South Yorkshire and will relentlessly pursue any individual who engages in this type of crime.

Detective Superintendent Natalie Shaw from South Yorkshire Polices Protecting Vulnerable People Unit

Detective Superintendent Natalie Shaw from South Yorkshire Polices Protecting Vulnerable People Unit

“This data is missing some wider context around investigations of this nature and while it is important to stress that between 2010 and 2015 we made over 500 arrests, this does not always necessarily mean that those individuals will have committed any offences.

“We will always thoroughly investigate reports of this type of crime but following those enquiries, individuals arrested may be found not to have committed any offences.

“It also does not take into consideration a range of other measures that can be taken with individuals. This includes reporting someone on summons to court, or perhaps issuing cautions if certain criteria are met. There may also be ongoing investigations where suspects have not yet been charged."

A spokesman for the NSPCC said: “We must always remember each one of these images represents a real child who has suffered unimaginable abuse in the production of these photographs.

"This is not a victimless crime, they are not ‘only’ pictures and each one helps perpetuate the sickening trade of child abuse imagery and endangers the safety and well-being of children.

“Each one of these arrests by South Yorkshire Police could have involved multiple images. We know from seeing cases being brought before our courts that some of these offenders have thousands or tens of thousands of indecent images, including the most serious depictions of child sexual abuse.

“The NSPCC is working hard to make sure everyone can help stamp out the trade in child abuse imagery. We urge anyone who may have information about the creation, possession or distribution of indecent images to get in contact with the police, or our helpline on 0808 800 5000 so we can offer help and advice about their concerns.”

Michael Quinn, Senior District Crown Prosecutor, CPS Yorkshire and Humberside said: “We have specialist lawyers who have been trained to deal with cases involving indecent images of children.

"Under the Code for Crown Prosecutors, we need to be sure that there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction, and that it is in the public interest to prosecute.

"The number of people arrested will always outweigh the number actually charged for an offence. The police will deal with a number of cases without reference to CPS including cases where the police are satisfied that the test in the Code has not been met or where they are satisfied that the offence is suitable to dealt with by way of caution.”