Two years on from the launch of David Cameron's internet crackdown in Blighty, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) reckons two offenders are convicted every day for possessing child-abuse images.
"This is an alarming study and just a fragment of the hundreds of other similar convictions during the same period," said Claire Lilley, head of child safety online for the NSPCC.
"The prime minister made a bold move in announcing a host of initiatives to tackle this problem, but it is clear that, two years after he called for a crackdown, the scale of the issue is proving to be massive," added Lilley.
The NSPCC's snapshot analysis suggested that since the call for action – which brought in web porn filters and sought to give more powers to paedo-hunting cops – more than 4.5m images have been seized by police in 100 criminal cases taken to court. We're told 101 offenders were imprisoned for a total of 49 years as a result.
Only two of those convicted were women, and four out of 10 were given community orders or told to do unpaid work.
The NSPCC states that one in three convicted sex offenders held positions of trust, or occupied roles that allowed them access to children.
Fred Langford, the deputy CEO of the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), stated that while "we're not in a place where we say 'job done'... it is important to recognise that here in the UK we have one of the most robust systems in the world for tackling online child sexual abuse images and videos. In fact, our analysts are identifying more of this imagery than ever before."
The IWF's last report declared a 136 per cent increase in identified and subsequently removed child abuse imagery.
Langford explained that the IWF is working with the internet industry to develop new technology which will speed up the identification and removal of online child sexual abuse images. In particular, it is developing a Hash List – a database of hashes for known child sexual abuse images – which will dramatically improve efficiency with regards to the removal of online child sexual abuse images. ®
The NSPCC offered a “snapshot” analysis of 100 criminal cases which were taken to court. It is from this "snapshot", which is a selection of criminal cases from the set of all of the criminal cases since the Prime Minister's announced crackdown, that the above figures regarding offender demographics are derived.
This “snapshot” is intended by the NSPCC to be a small and representative picture of the situation regarding child abuse in the UK.
The figure of two convictions a day exists outside of this “snapshot”, and is statistically representative of convictions for possession of child abuse images in the UK.