Pirate FM News 3 minute read

Jump in prosecutions for viewing child sex images

Jump in prosecutions for viewing child sex images

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 7:00am 22nd June 2019.

The number of prosecutions in Devon and Cornwall for viewing indecent images of children has jumped in the last decade.

The campaign group Justice says a surge in sexual offence allegations has put increasing pressure on courts, and has called for first-time offenders who look at such material to attend educational programmes instead of being charged.

But the NSPCC warned that prison must remain an option for people who view “sick images”.

New Ministry of Justice data shows that 82 Devon and Cornwall Police cases related to the viewing of indecent images of children resulted in prosecutions last year.

It is more than the 59 cases that made it to court in 2008.


"We have sought to identify areas where greater efficiency can be achieved without in any way eroding fair trial.

"We found that there is substantial scope for alleviating the pressures upon the criminal justice system by improving our response to sexual offending and treatment of those it has harmed."

Former Old Bailey judge Peter Rook QC, who chairs the group’s working party

child sex images RADAR graph

The local trend is less pronounced than that across England and Wales, where the number of prosecutions almost doubled over the period. Last year, 4,708 cases went to court.

Justice has argued for offenders with no relevant criminal record to attend a five-session course to address their behaviour, with one follow-up session eight months later.

While the aim is to reduce pressure on courts, those who failed to complete the sessions would still face prosecution.

"Viewing such sick images is a crime and prison must remain an option to reflect the severity of it and to protect the public.

"But we know that prison alone cannot solve the situation and we must make prevention and rehabilitation a priority to avoid abuse happening in the first place."

NSPCC spokesperson

person on computer internet online

The number of prosecutions in Devon and Cornwall last year reflected a significant fall from 2017, when 170 were recorded.

Across England and Wales, they fell by 28%.

"Possessing indecent images of children is a serious offence and we will always seek to bring charges where there is enough evidence and it is in the public interest to do so."

Spokesperson for the Crown Prosecution Service

A Government spokesperson said offenders who view, but don’t create or share, indecent images of children can already be given cautions with tough conditions attached by the police, if prosecutors agree.

You can find all the source data here.

Contact Us

If you would like to submit a query or provide more information on this story please get in touch below.

Please wait...
  • Up to 3 JPG or PNG images, 2MB max size
  • We will always endeavour to credit you when we publish your pictures.
  • By uploading you are agreeing to this non-exclusive reuse, royalty-free, across all Pirate FM platforms, which extends to our partner broadcasters.
  • You retain copyright to all images.
  • If you would like to send us a video, please upload to YouTube or similar and paste the video URL into the message above.
Email Icon

Sign up for exclusive news, competitions and offers.
Proper Local News updates from Pirate FM

Suggested articles

Jump in domestic abuse in Devon and Cornwall

Cornwall News: Survivor Danielle shares her story, as a police crackdown starts

Video warning after a 'serious sex assault'

Cornwall News: Police in Penzance urge people NOT to share one on social media

Newer articles

How much time traffic jams are costing drivers in Cornwall

Cornwall News: People are held up a minute for every three miles they cover

New summer guide for dog-friendly places in Cornwall

Cornwall News: It includes top spots that welcome pets in the Duchy

Older articles

Summer norovirus outbreak warning goes out to Cornwall

Cornwall News: People with the bug are urged to stay away from hospitals

The cast of Poldark dish the dirt on the FINAL series

Cornwall News: The stars were chatting at the premiere in Cornwall

Most read

Murder investigation launched in Cornwall

Cornwall News: It follows the death of a young man near Callington

Pirate Extra Pirate 70s Escape LoveCornwall