WILTSHIRE'S police commissioner said he would back tighter regulation of social media firms if it makes them "sit up and take responsibility".

Mr Macpherson's comments followed a suggestion from the UK's leading child protection police officer that a public boycott of companies like Facebook may be needed before they take the initiative to protect children from abuse.

A public boycott of social media companies may be necessary before they take the initiative to protect children from abuse Norfolk chief constable Simon Bailey said..

Tech companies had abdicated their duty to safeguard children and are only paying attention now due to fear of reputational damage.

The National Police Chiefs' Council child protection lead believes sanctions such as fines will be "little more than a drop in the ocean" to big online platforms, but that the government's online harms white paper could be a "game changer" if it leads to effective punitive measures.

Angus Macpherson, Wiltshire and Swindon Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “Child sexual abuse is an abhorrent crime and it is the responsibility of us all to protect those most vulnerable.

“Social media companies run the risk of doing too little too late in addressing the role their platforms play in these crimes being committed if they don’t tackle this issue head on.

“If proper regulation is what is required to make them sit up and take responsibility then I would support it. Protecting children is of paramount importance."