THE number of Wiltshire people logging on to a website designed to cut viewing of indecent images of children has doubled.

A senior detective responsible for keeping Wiltshire’s children safe from would-be predators has welcomed the news, putting the boost down to a campaign run over the summer by police officers and Stop It Now! website creators the Lucy Faithfull Foundation.

But Det Supt Deb Smith, head of public protection at Wiltshire Police, had a strong warning for those looking at child sexual abuse images and videos on the internet.

“Anyone who is accessing images online needs to be mindful that anything involving indecent images is very closely monitored and therefore you may get a knock at the door from the police,” she said.

“We would strongly advise perpetrators to try and stop their behaviour, recognise the impact it has on the children and young people who are the subject of the abuse, and recognise the potential consequences of their actions.”

In the six months to the end of August, 71 people logging on to the Stop it Now website or calling a confidential telephone support line were from Wiltshire. It was almost double the number accessing the service in the previous six month period.

Det Supt Smith said: “We don’t know exactly who it is who has gone on to the website. We don’t know if it’s a perpetrator, a family member or someone going on to explore a bit more about the campaign.

“However, in terms of a high increase in website views, that can only be a positive thing. The whole purpose was to promote the campaign, Stop it Now.”

Across the south west of England, almost 1,200 people accessed the service between February and August.

Donald Findlater, director of Stop it Now, said: “People engaged in this behaviour need to be clear that sexual images of children are illegal, that children are harmed when they are made, and also every time they are viewed.

“Offenders put at risk everything they take for granted or have worked hard to achieve – family, friends, work, their liberty.”

Damian Kearney, assistant chief constable at Avon and Somerset Police and regional lead for child sexual exploitation and abuse, added: “Every time a sexual image of a child is viewed, that child is re-victimised and further demand is created. It is vital, then, that we work closely with partners and use all available resources to protect children and, wherever possible, prevent offending.”

For more on Stop it Now, call 0800 1000 900 or visit: