Essex Police arrest 133 and safeguard 303 children from online abuse

A person using a laptop in the dark

Specialist officers in Essex have safeguarded 303 children in their work to identify online predators and people who share indecent images of under 18s (File photo) - Credit: PA/Dominic Lipinski

Specialist police officers in Essex have said that they safeguarded 303 children from online harm in 2021.

Essex's Police Online Investigation Team (POLIT) also made 133 arrests while working to identify internet predators or people who share indecent images of under 18s last year, the force revealed.

Temporary Detective Inspector Jim Adams said POLIT's job has been difficult with people spending more time online.

He said: "We are now regularly dealing with individuals that have persuaded, tricked or threatened children via the internet.

"A useful way to help children to identify risks is to compare online and real-world situations.

"What would they do if a stranger approached them in the street and started talking to them?"

Essex Police said there is help available you are concerned about your own behaviour at https://stopso.org.uk or https://stopitnow.org.uk

Children and parents can find help at: https://ceop.police.uk