Cumbria Police crack down on cyber criminals targeting children

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Credit: PA Images

Cumbria Police is ramping up its efforts to make sure people accessing online child sex abuse material are put behind bars.

The force's cyber crime unit saw a 17% increase in referrals last year, compared to the year before.

Detectives carried out several search warrants across the county in recent weeks.

Warrants were executed in:

  • Workington

  • Maryport

  • Carlisle

  • Ulverston

  • Seascale

Several digital items have been recovered and several individuals are assisting the detectives with enquiries.

The force's cyber crime unit saw a 17% increase in referrals last year, compared to the year before. Credit: PA Images

Detective Inspector Andy Myers of the Cumbria Constabulary Cyber and Digital Crime Unit said “One of the Cumbria Cyber and Digital Crime Unit’s main focuses is to protect vulnerable people from harm.

“We are all aware that technology is advancing rapidly, and criminals are adapting and using online methods to target vulnerable and trusting people. The number of social media sites and apps continues to expand with many of these have a chat function.

"Parents should make sure that they are aware of the apps their child has access to and how their child is using the internet and regularly check their child’s friends on social media accounts, to ensure that no one they have met online has been added.

“We do everything we can to prosecute offenders who’s aim is to harm vulnerable people."

Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, said: “Protecting vulnerable and young people online is one of our main priorities.

"No one want to think that there are criminals accessing online child sex abuse material here in Cumbria, however, sadly this is not the case.

“It is essential that we all know how to best protect ourselves when we are online. Cyber criminals are experts in developing online friendships with vulnerable and young people, exploiting their trust and manipulating people to share inappropriate images. To learn more about keeping yourself and others safe online visit”

Further advice around online safety can be found on our here, via CEOP and Thinkuknow

NSPCC advice on how to keep children safe online: 

  • Talk, Explore, Agree and Manage online safety with your child - work together as a family to help keep your kids safe online.

  • Be flexible with the normal rules, such as how long your child is spending online, as we're all going online much more during lockdown - but make sure you talk to your child about any new rules and remind them they can talk to you about anything they see or do online.

  • Talk to them about who they're talking to.

  • Get familiar with video chatting and livestreaming.

  • Take online safety offline.

  • Get to know gaming - before you let your child use a new game, agree some rules around who they can play with and when.

  • Think about age and content ratings.