More than 370 child abuse image offences have been recorded in Nottinghamshire over the last year, new figures have shown.
Nationally, the number of child abuse image offences recorded by police has risen by almost a quarter in a year to 22,724, the NSPCC has revealed.
New figures obtained via Freedom of Information requests to every police force found an offence was recorded on average every 23 minutes in 2017/18.
The number of child abuse image offences recorded by Nottinghamshire Police in 2016/17 was 253, compared to 377 in 2017/18 – a rise of 49 per cent.
The charity is warning that offenders are using social networks to target children for abuse online, grooming and manipulating them into sending naked images. Without adequate support the impact of this abuse can last a lifetime.
A single offence recorded by police can involve hundreds of indecent images of children.
The NSPCC’s #WildWestWeb campaign is calling on the government to prevent abuse from happening in the first place by introducing an independent regulator to hold social networks to account and tackle grooming to cut off the supply of these images at source.
Last month an NSPCC survey of 40,000 young people revealed an average of one in 50 schoolchildren had sent a nude or semi-nude image to an adult.
Tony Stower, NSPCC’s head of child safety online, said: “Every one of these images represents a real child who has been groomed and abused to supply the demand of this appalling trade.
“The lack of adequate protections on social networks has given offenders all too easy access to children to target and abuse. This is the last chance saloon for social networks on whose platforms this abuse is often taking place.
“Our Wild West Web campaign is calling on government to introduce a tough independent regulator to hold social networks to account and tackle grooming to cut off supply of these images at source.”