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More must be done to tackle grooming says Vera Baird

12th August 2014

Northumbria’s Police & Crime Commissioner Vera Baird has joined forces with Labour MP Sarah Champion to urge the Government to do more to protect young people being targeted by adults for online sexual grooming.

The Commissioner is concerned that current legislation contains a ‘loophole’ where police need to prove a groomer has contacted the victim twice, hindering attempts to tackle child exploitation.

Mrs Baird said: “The internet can be a wonderful tool; it is informative and has transformed lives.

“Sadly, however, it also has a dark side which is being exploited by ‘groomers’ who are attempting to contact young people for online sexual grooming. This loophole in the current legislation must be blocked so anyone committing such a crime can be convicted after the first contact.”

The Commissioner added: “On-line chat rooms can be dangerous places for young people and I’d urge parents to regularly check the activity on their home computer. Special settings can be put in place to give added protection.

“Here in Northumbria, the police will continue to do all they can to tackle this issue head on and if anyone has concerns about this issue I’d urge them to contact the police.”

Vera Baird has raised her concerns with the Home Secretary Theresa May, asking her what actions she will be taking to block this loophole.

Letter to the Home Secretary