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Cuts prompt drop in child sex abuse cases

MP slams 'appalling' decline in prosecutions

Coalition cuts are failing sexually abused children as the number of cases taken to court has plummeted by 28 per cent in the past two years, Labour claimed yesterday.

The party pointed to official figures showing that in 2012-13 a reported sexual offence against a child was 24 per cent less likely to be passed from the police to the Crown Prosecution Service than in 2010-11.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said: "This is an appalling drop of nearly a third in the number of child abuse cases that the police are referring for prosecution, even though more cases are coming forward.

"It shows the disgraceful way the police have been hollowed out by Theresa May, with so many specialist child protection units also being cut.

"Just as the criminal justice system was starting to get better at investigating and prosecuting, the clock has been turned back."

Ms Cooper also pointed to similar patterns in domestic violence and sexual offences because of misplaced cuts to front-line policing which have seen 15,000 officers thrown on the scrapheap.

In an effort to distract attention from the failing justice system Prime Minister David Cameron has declared "significant progess" in the fight against paedophiles due to a government-backed crackdown by Microsoft and Google on searches for child pornography.

The internet giants announced that new software is to be introduced that will automatically block 100,000 "unambiguous" search terms which lead to illegal content.

However campaigners have warned the moves will not stop paedophiles using the web to share horrific photos and videos.

Former Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre chief executive Jim Gamble told BBC's Breakfast programme: "I don't think this will make any difference with regard to protecting children from paedophiles.

"They don't go on to Google to search for images. They go on to the dark corners of the internet on peer-to-peer websites."

The restrictions will be launched in Britain first before being expanded to other English-speaking countries and 158 other languages in the next six months.


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