WILTSHIRE Police has bucked a trend across the South West and seen a drop in the number of child sexual offences reported across the county.

Despite falling numbers there is still more than one offence reported every day in Wiltshire.

Figures show that in 2015/16, more than 550 offences were reported, which by 2018/19 had fallen to 495.

Detective Superintendents Deb Smith, head of public protection, said the force has worked with the Stop It Now! campaign to end child sexual exploitation.

Officers have also raised awareness with people who work with children in the community to prevent offences from occurring in the first place.

But detective superintendent Smith admitted the online threat to children is still increasing.

In Wiltshire 54 offences have been reported in the last year connected to cyber incidents and sparked the NSPCC to call on the Prime Minister to prioritise online safety.

The force set up the Digital Investigations and Intelligence Unit (DIIU) in September 2018 which gives advice to schools on how to keep pupils safe online

She said: “As further technology is developed and connected devices become more readily available, it can be no surprise that there is a rise in cybercrime offences.”

Peter Wanless, NSPCC CEO, said: “Behind each offence is a child suffering at the hands of sex offenders and, worryingly, we know these figures are the tip of the iceberg.

“Far too many children are drowning in a sea of online threats so it’s now time for the Prime Minister to cast out the life jacket.

“He must hold his nerve and introduce an independent regulator to protect children from the risks of abuse and harmful content.”

For offences where the age was recorded, 13 was the most common age of the victim in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but there were 185 offences committed against children aged ten and under, including babies yet to reach their first birthday.