Information gained from an FOI request to the Ministry of Justice has shown the  number of convictions and cautions for possession of indecent images of children  exceeded 1,700 for the first time since 2003.

Former UN Senior Expert Advisor John Carr (johncarrcv.blogspot.co.uk)  carried out the research and says that the creation of CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection) in 2006 has been key to the rise on those being caught.

Writing in his blog, Carr noted: "The total number of cautions administered follows the same trajectory as the one referred to earlier. For possession  offences they peaked at 205 in 2003 then started to fall back. In 2008 they start rising again reaching a new record high of 215 in 2010 [the last year records are available].

"Indeed in 2010, for the first time ever, the number of cautions given exceeded the number of convictions obtained. The ratio of cautions to convictions for possession has been high for several years, often not far off 50:50."

Equally important according to Carr has been the creation of dedicated cyber-crime units among more local police forces. "In relation to local forces you only ever used to hear about London's Metropolitan Police, Greater Manchester and the West Midlands. That's not the case now," he added.

Worrying recent NSPCC research suggests that despite the increase in convictions the problem remains widespread and a new NSPCC strategy entitled 'Letting the Future In' has been launched to improve the provision of therapeutic services for children who have been abused - click here for more information.

To read John Carr's blog in full visitjohnc1912.wordpress.com. 

Read an interview with CEOP chief executive Peter Davies in the February issue ofPolicing Today magazine - click here to subscribe. 

Usewww.mysociety.orgto conduct your own Freedom of Information requests. 

Posted 20/03/2012 by richard.hook@pavpub.com