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Earlier this year, Police and Crime Commissioner, John Campion, pledged his support to the Government’s Online Safety Bill, which would protect the most vulnerable internet users by holding technology firms accountable for content shared on its networks.

According to latest data from the leading children’s charity NSPCC 1,654 online grooming cases have been recorded across Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Midlands and West Mercia police forces over the past six years. This contributes to the 34,000 grooming crimes recorded by 42 UK police forces during the same time period, which is a rise of 82% since the offence was introduced in 2017/2018.

The Online Safety Bill is due to come into effect this autumn and as part of his plan to build a safer West Mercia for all including online communities, the PCC is reiterating his support for the legislation.

The PCC said: “Although I am encouraged by the volume of people coming forward to report online grooming, the numbers are truly astonishing.

“As part of my Safer West Mercia Plan, I am committed to protecting all communities, which includes vulnerable users of the internet and ensuring they don’t become a victim of crime.

“I am assured the Online Safety Bill will action the laws needed to keep people safe online and I will ensure West Mercia Police are taking action to implement the measures incorporated in the legislation.”