AN 82 per cent increase in online grooming cases over the last six years has urged the regions police and crime commissioner to again vow his support for the Online Safety Bill.
According to latest data from the leading children’s charity NSPCC, 1,654 online grooming cases have been recorded across the four police forces over the past six years, including those reported to West Mercia Police.
This contributes to the 34,000 grooming crimes recorded by 42 UK police forces during the same time period, which is a rise of 82% since the offence was introduced in 2017/2018.
The Online Safety Bill, which will make social media companies legally responsible for keeping people safe online by more closely monitoring and removing illegal and harmful content, is due to come into effect this autumn and the PCC is reiterating his support for the legislation.
PCC John Campion said: “Although I am encouraged by the volume of people coming forward to report online grooming, the numbers are truly astonishing.
“As part of my Safer West Mercia Plan, I am committed to protecting all communities, which includes vulnerable users of the internet and ensuring they don’t become a victim of crime.
“I am assured the Online Safety Bill will action the laws needed to keep people safe online and I will ensure West Mercia Police are taking action to implement the measures incorporated in the legislation.”