ONLINE safety has been described as "a growing concern" which "needs to be addressed", by Wiltshire's police and crime commissioner.

This follows the news that a media watchdog has been granted new powers to target violence, cyber bullying and child abuse on social media sites.

Ofcom will now regulate internet safety by monitoring organisations including Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Snapchat and Twitter, in a bid to stop offensive and violent content being shared or published.

The government announced the new controls as part of its plans for a new legal duty of care, and Ofcom will be able to hold social media sites accountable, remove content and issue penalties.

Police and Crime Commissioner, Angus Macpherson, welcomed the news, adding that it is "a step further towards protecting those who are most vulnerable".

He said: “[Online safety is] an issue which needs to be addressed and I supported when the plans were initially announced.

“The issue of online safety is a growing concern and is only going to get worse if we don’t get efficient preventative measures in place.

"Ofcom taking proactive measures to protect people from harmful content such as violence, terrorism, cyber-bullying and child abuse is a really positive move in the right direction. It’s reassuring to hear online platforms will be ensuring concerning content is removed quickly as well as minimising the risk of it appearing at all.

Mr Macpherson added: “At Wiltshire Police we have two dedicated cyber prevent and protect officers specifically recruited to support and advise businesses and the community, young people and their parents and carers on keeping themselves safe online.

"The capability of the team will grow in the future to reflect and recognise the increase in cyber crime and the related risk to our communities. But we can’t do it alone and it’s reassuring social media companies are accepting they have an important role to play.”