RECORD numbers of online child sex offences have been recorded by police across Lancashire in recent years, shocking new figures show.

According to data collected by the NSPCC, officers at Lancashire Constabulary have been dealing with a 525 per cent increase in the number of online sex child sex crime reports, after seeing a huge leap in figures from 67 cases in 2018/19 to 419 in 2019/20.

This means the county has seen not only the largest rise in cases, but has also reported more cases than anywhere else in the North West in recent years bar Greater Manchester.

A police spokesman said: “It is our priority to manage risk and protect our communities from sexual offenders.

“The figures provided by the NSPCC require a degree of scrutiny and research to understand what contributes to the significant increase.

“However what is clear is that with advancement in technology and the development of tactical options in law enforcement along with a commitment to increasing our resources in this are within the region, we are detecting more online child sexual abuse and consequently identifying and bringing more offenders to justice than ever before, along with being able to identify and keep safe children who are being sexually abused in a cyber or online setting.”

The data reveals 10,391 crimes were recorded by all 46 forces across England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands for 2019/20.

The offences across the UK increased by 16% from the previous year where data from police forces is available and includes crimes that had a cyber element such as grooming, sexual assault and rape.

Andy Burrows, NSPCC head of child safety online policy, said: “These figures suggest that online abuse was already rising before lockdown, and the risks to children appear to have spiked significantly since.

“It is now almost 17 months since the Government’s original proposals for social media regulation were published and children continue to face preventable harm online.

“The Prime Minister needs to prioritise making progress on a comprehensive Online Harms Bill this Autumn, and pass legislation by the end of 2021, that sees technology firms held criminally and financially accountable if they put children at risk.”

Adults concerned about a child online can contact the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000 or email