Some sex offenders ‘should get NHS help not court’ says Norfolk chief constable

Norfolk chief constable Simon Bailey.

Norfolk chief constable Simon Bailey. - Credit: Morgan Hollis

Norfolk chief constable Simon Bailey has said people who have viewed child sex images online but are not likely to be 'contact abusers' should be treated by health services rather than brought before a court.

Mr Bailey, the Association of Chief Police Officers' lead officer on child protection and abuse investigations, said research suggests at least 50% of people viewing child abuse images could be classified as 'non-contact abusers'.

He said the approach was based on 'realism', but admitted it could be 'a very unpalatable response from a senior police officer'. He told The Guardian: 'We have to think about an alternative solution. [We] need to engage with service providers from mental health and the health service to work with us to say these people need help.

'It is based upon the fact there will be a significant number of those people who will simply not go on to contact abuse.'

The comments come after a self-confessed paedophile outed himself in a Channel Four documentary last month, admitting an attraction to young girls but denying committing an offence. Named only as Eddie, he said he was seeking help in Europe, where countries such as Germany have dedicated treatment centres. Experts have called for a similar approach in the UK.

• Do you have a crime story? Email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

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