CHILD sex offences on the internet have almost doubled in Warwickshire in the last four years.
There were 75 child sexual offence with an online element recorded in the county in 2018-19 – up from 38 in 2015/16.
Figures revealed by the NSPCC show a similar rise across the UK in the four years since police forces began flagging child sexual offences involving the internet – going up from 4,042 to 8,224.
They included 185 offences committed against children aged ten and under – even including babies yet to reach their first birthday.
The offences include online grooming, sexual communication with a child, and rape.
An NSPCC spokesperson said the figures may not reveal the true extent of the problem due to potential under-recording of the role of the internet.
The charity is calling on the next Prime Minister to prioritise online safety.
NSPCC CEO Peter Wanless said: “Behind each offence is a child suffering at the hands of sex offenders and, worryingly, we know these figures are the tip of the iceberg.
“Far too many children are drowning in a sea of online threats so it’s now time for the next Prime Minister, whoever he may be, to cast out the life jacket.
“He must hold his nerve and introduce an independent regulator to protect children from the risks of abuse and harmful content.”