Police welcome tougher laws on child abuse

Det Insp Simon Lovett, who heads the Lincolnshire Police team tracking down online paedophiles, has welcomed the Government's tougher stance. ANL-141212-161755001
Det Insp Simon Lovett, who heads the Lincolnshire Police team tracking down online paedophiles, has welcomed the Government's tougher stance. ANL-141212-161755001

The police inspector leading the fight against online paedophiles in Lincolnshire says new steps announced by the Government will help safeguard children.

The Government is closing a legal loophole by making it unlawful for an adult to ask anyone under the age of 16 for a sexual image of themselves – and that’s just one of a raft of measures as Prime Minister David Cameron steps up the war against child abusers.

Det Insp Simon Lovett, who heads the Lincolnshire Police Child Internet Abuse Team, said: “At present we would use the offences of inciting a child into sexual activity or child pornography.

“This will be a more direct and straightforward legislation, making it very clear to offenders that they are committing an offence, eliminating any grey areas.

“The new legislation will mean it is illegal for an adult to send a sexual communication to a child. This will assist in closing loopholes making this an offence, whereas at present we are not able to prosecute on this specifically.

“The changes will assist in safeguarding children earlier and prosecuting offenders before they go on to commit more serious offences.”

It is already an offence to exchange explicit images with a child – the step of asking for a picture will carry a two-year prison sentence.

The Government is also thinking of making possession of so-called “training manuals” illegal – these are sickening documents that teach users how to carry out horrific acts of abuse, including rape.

Det Insp Lovett said that was a “very positive step”.

• The Government is giving £50million over the next five years to tackle paedophiles hoping to escape detection by using the “dark” Internet.