PEOPLE who look at indecent images of children online are being urged to seek help.
Warwickshire Police is signposting them to help and warning they will be caught if they persist.
Tackling child sexual abuse is among the highest priorities for the force, which is working alongside partners to protect and safeguard young people.
In April alone, 45 devices were seized and 11 people arrested in Warwickshire for viewing indecent images of under 18s. Fourteen children were protected as a direct result of the police investigations.
Police warn anyone convicted of accessing or distributing indecent images of under 18s is required to sign the sex offenders register.
And there is no anonymity and they face severe personal consequences that may include family breakdown, abandonment of friendships, disclosures to work and potential loss of employment.
Det Supt Anna Middleton said: “Many offenders believe it is a victimless crime as they are not complicit in the physical abuse. However, their behaviour fuels child exploitation and it is devastating for victims to have photos of their ordeal repeatedly viewed and shared online.
“People from all walks of life are convicted of viewing indecent images of children, predominantly they are men, many with families and respected professions. The vast majority have not come to police attention before. It doesn’t matter who you are, if you are looking at illegal images online, our dedicated team of investigative officers will be able to find you.
“The risks and consequences of this behaviour are high. If you are convicted of viewing or distributing indecent images of under 18s you will have a criminal record as a sex offender.
“There are excellent charities offering support to people who are worried about their online habits. I would strongly urge anyone who is actively viewing these images to contact them and get help to stop.”
Anyone worried about their own thoughts or behaviour can get help by visiting the Stop it Now! Get Help website – www.stopitnow.org.uk – or by calling The Lucy Faithfull Foundation confidential helpline on 0808 1000 900.