THE news of a massive increase in the number of children on the 'at risk' register in Lancashire is alarming.

More than 800 children in the area are now subject to child protection plans or have suffered 'significant' harm or abuse.

The total is up 36 per cent on figures from 2008, and comes as thousands of referrals are processed each year by Blackburn with Darwen and Lancashire County councils.

The rise has been put down to two different factors, the recession and more awareness of child neglect issues following the horrific Baby P case in Haringey.

Social service bosses said they had received a surge in tip offs about possible abuse after 17-month-old Peter was found dead with more than 50 injuries.

His story shows that abuse is not just something that should be left up to social workers to sort out.

We all have a duty to keep an eye on the children around us to make sure they are protected.

And if we have any doubt at all about the welfare of a child we must let the authorities know.

In turn, under strain social services departments need adequate resources to ensure all at risk youngsters are kept safe.