Suffolk's police chief Tim Passmore warns of online dangers over festive period
PUBLISHED: 08:07 27 December 2017 | UPDATED: 10:52 27 December 2017
While many children across the nation will have received laptops, smart phones and tablets on Christmas morning, they may not be aware of the dangers they face, according to Suffolk's Police and Crime Commissioner.
Tim Passmore is reminding parents and children alike to stay safe online over the festive period.
He said: “I can absolutely understand why children would want to find smart phones and tablets in their Christmas stocking – these are very exciting gifts for young people.
“But I just hope parents and young people take time over the hectic festive season to discuss the dangers of the internet.”
He added: “Keeping Suffolk’s youngsters safe online is a real issue, of serious concern.
“While the digital world has brought many benefits, unfortunately this amazing innovation is increasingly being used to commit serious harm.
“Our young people are in danger of being groomed or bullied online, and they can be criminalised as a result of sharing explicit images.”
The crime commissioner has previously said reports of grooming and violence in Suffolk’s digital community has risen sharply in recent years.
Earlier this year Mr Passmore, along with Suffolk County Council, Suffolk Community Foundation, Suffolk Constabulary and the University of Suffolk, launched the Stay Safe Online campaign to expose and prevent digital threats experienced by under 25s.
He said: “I have set aside £100,000 for organisations who support young people to help them improve their cyber security.
“I hope this will make a difference across the county.”
The Stay Safe Online initiative is an example of how police across the region are making a more concerted effort to tackle online crime in recent years.
In 2015 a joint Norfolk and Suffolk Cyber Crime Unit was launched in Halesworth.
The unit is responsible for investigating all offences where networked computers or technology have been used to commit crimes ranging from online fraud, human trafficking and child pornography.
If you are worried about the welfare of a child or vulnerable adult living in Suffolk, call Customer First on 0808 800 4005. If you are concerned they are in immediate danger call 999.
For more information on how to stay safe online visit: www.suffolk.gov.uk/community-and-safety/staying-safe-online