NI: Number of recorded offences of viewing child pornography rises sharply

Neil Anderson

In the past five years the number of police recorded offences for viewing child pornography has increased by 292 per cent to 231 offences in Northern Ireland.

The numbers have more than doubled in all four nations of the UK, the NSPCC reports.

In England the number increased by 134 per cent to 7,324 between 2010/11 and 2014/15. In Wales the number increased by 184 per cent to 587. In Scotland the number increased by 168 per cent to 603 recorded offences.

These figures are the maximum number of possible offences which have been recorded in relation to indecent images of children. Some of these offences will relate to adults. The Obscene Publications Act covers both online and offline material. However the way the data is collected by the police prevents the NSPCC from splitting out online and offline offences.

Neil Anderson, head of the NSPCC in Northern Ireland, said: “The sheer numbers of people viewing child sexual abuse images online must be addressed as a social emergency.”

He added: “We recognise that progress has been made. For example, the work of the National Crime Agency and the police has safeguarded record numbers of victims and arrested hundreds of suspects in the UK.

“Industry is working with partners such as the IWF to identify and remove child sexual abuse images. But these efforts alone will not solve the problem.

“We should be long past the point where there are dark corners of the internet where these terrible crimes against children are hosted for the pleasure of paedophiles.”

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