Online child sex offender numbers treble in the region since 2014

One gang member reportedly pulled out a 20cm hunting knife and pointed it at the victim.
One gang member reportedly pulled out a 20cm hunting knife and pointed it at the victim.

The number of suspected online child sex offenders across the county has has more than trebled over the last three years.

Last year 246 suspects were identified by the police in the region, compared to 68 in 2014.

The Home Office said more resources than ever before were being used to target those involved in exploitation.

In a new HMIC report, the police watchdog said the force ‘has moved its resources to address vulnerability and tackle cyber and digital crime.’

However theses numbers continue to increase with every year.

A spokesman from Bedfordshire Police said: “The Internet Child Abuse Investigation Team is committed to investigating indecent image offences and works with partners to identify offending and take action against those responsible.”

An NSPCC spokesman said: “Downloading and distributing child abuse images is an abhorrent crime.

“Each picture is a crime scene involving a young victim who has been abused and whose suffering is compounded every time that image is passed around online.

“The proliferation of these appalling images is a major – and growing – problem which needs industry, government and law enforcement to tackle in unison.

“The NSPCC wants to see a specialist digital child abuse unit in every police force, trained to deal with sexual offences against children.”