Bedfordshire Police have responded to an NSPCC report which found that sex crimes against children in the county had risen by over 100% in the last four years.
Detective superintendent John Murphy, told the Bedford Independent exclusively: “We are committed to tackling all types of child sexual abuse and have a specialist unit which thoroughly investigates such cases.
“We work hard to bring offenders to justice, but also provide the appropriate support for individuals who have gone through such a distressing experience.”
A spokesperson for the force also reiterated that they will do all we can to investigate the case and get justice, no matter how long ago the abuse happened, highlighting several cases where they had brought sex offenders to justice.
- Craig Howe, 46, of Luffenham Place, Chicksands, was jailed for more than 20 years after subjecting young children to sexual abuse on numerous occasions spanning a number of years. He was given a sentence of 29 years. 21 years in prison and an extended licence period of eight years.
- Kevin Langford, 54, of no fixed address, was jailed for 23 years in July 2019 for the horrific sexual abuse of a young girl, which began when she was just 12 years old. He was convicted of 29 different charges. The abuse spanned a six-year period when he was living in a village outside of Bedford.
- Leigh Kentish, 39, of Greenways, Flitwick, was jailed for 12 years in October 2018 after pleading guilty to nine counts of sexual activity with a child and one count of making indecent photos of a child.
- Satwant Sondhi, 50, of Old Ford End Road, Bedford, was sentenced to 15 years in prison in May 2018, after being found guilty of sexually abusing two young boys in the 1980s.
The NSPCC report found that 813 offences were recorded by Bedfordshire Police in 2018/19, that’s over double what it was four years ago in 2014/14 when 404 were recorded.
Analysis of the data also reveals that, where the age of victim was provided, 266 offences were recorded in Bedfordshire against children aged ten and under.
Seven of the offences were against babies under the age of one.
But, DS John Murphy believes the figures don’t necessarily show that more of these crimes are happening.
“We are continuing to see an increase in the numbers of people coming forward to report child sexual abuse, and this reflects the confidence that people have that they will be listened to and that justice can be achieved.
“Additionally we are seeing an increase in people coming forward to report non-recent sexual abuse and we have secured several convictions over the last few years.
“Sexual abuse can have such as devastating impact on a child and we want to encourage victims, whether it’s happening now or has happened in the past, to come forward and we will do all we can to support you and get justice for you.
“If you are concerned that a child you know may be being sexually abused, you can report concerns to us on 101 or by using our online reporting tool.
“Parents can visit the Parents Protect website, which is run by the Lucy Faithfull Foundation, for lots of useful resources to help prevent child sexual abuse.”