Lincolnshire Police recorded over 180 sexual offences against young children last year, according to the NSPCC
Nearly 200 sexual offences against children aged four to eight were recorded by Lincolnshire Police in 2018-19, according to a new report.
A Freedom of Information (FOI) request from the NSPCC to the county's police force found that it had dealt with 182 sexual offence cases involving children aged under 18 between April 1, 2018 and March 31, 2019.
In total, more than 7,600 sexual offences against children aged four to eight were recorded by 14 of the 44 police forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland who responded to the NSPCC's FOI request.
The figures were made public just two months after William Carr (53), of Spalding, was jailed for eight years after a jury at Lincoln Crown Court found him guilty on six counts of sexually assaulting three girls aged under 13.
Peter Wanless, the NSPCC'S chief executive officer, said: "It is very concerning that the number of recorded sexual offences against young children is at such a high level.
"It is vital that we do more to help them stay safe from sexual abuse."
An inspection of Lincolnshire Police's child protection services in September 2018 found "strong evidence of senior officers working to improve the way the force manages the risks to children and meets the continued increase in demand for child protection.
Speaking to our sister newspaper, the Lincolnshire Free Press, in April, Chief Constable Bill Skelly said: "We've had a rise in the number of sexual offences reported to us, some of them being quite complicated.
"All of these cases are very sensitive and require a lot of people and resources to deal with.
"But the public expect us to do that and so I've made a choice that it needs to be a priority."
Tracy Pilcher, director of operations, allied health professionals and nursing for Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust, said: "We have a dedicated safeguarding team committed to the highest standards of safeguarding for children, young people and adults throughout the county.
"All of our staff receive safeguarding training that includes a range of issues, including child sexual abuse."
Janice Spencer, interim director of children's services at Lincolnshire County Council, said: "We take allegations of abuse seriously and have a strong multi-agency approach in tackling all forms of child abuse.
"We work closely with all partner agencies to agree on a coordinated approach from specially trained and qualified staff in health, police and social care to ensure that children and families receive the right support, from the right person, at the right time."