Grooming offences against children have increased by more than two thirds in Derbyshire in the last year.
Across the county 42 grooming offences were recorded in the year to June this year, up significantly from 25 in 2015-16, according to Home Office data, released by the Office of National Statistics.
The 68 per cent increase is higher than the average for England and Wales of 64 per cent. Sexual grooming was one of the most-increased recorded offences in the last year.
NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless said: “This is an enormous rise in recorded grooming offences over such a short period, and the fact that records of grooming offences have increased substantially more than most other crimes shows the need for urgent action.”
From April this year a new offence making it illegal to send a sexual message to a child came into force after a two-year delay, following the NSPCC’s Flaw in the Law campaign.
The recorded grooming offences also include the crime of meeting after grooming, which former England footballer Adam Johnson was convicted of after meeting a 15-year-old fan.
Mr Wanless continued: “More young people are speaking up about sexual grooming, and it’s vital that now more than ever police are given the training and the resources to tackle this issue. Groomers need to be stopped before they go to meet their victim, and following the NSPCC’s Flaw in the Law campaign police now have the tools they need to intervene before abuse escalates.”
Young people affected by grooming can contact Childline on 0800 1111.