Norfolk Chief Constable: Child sex abuse 'challenge of century'

Marie Black
Image caption Marie Black was convicted following a trial at Norwich Crown Court

Norfolk's chief constable has described child sex abuse as the greatest challenge of the 21st Century and predicted an 88% rise in cases in 2015.

Simon Bailey spoke after a woman and two men were convicted of using children as "sexual playthings" in Norwich and London over 10 years.

Mr Bailey said there had been "staggering increases" in reports in the UK since the Jimmy Savile case.

The police will investigate more than 77,000 cases this year, he added.

"We have to accept too much abuse is taking place," said Mr Bailey, who is also the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) lead on child protection.

"I'm predicting an 88% increase in the number of investigations the police service nationally will carry out this year - that's an incredible increase.

"It is presenting us with some incredible challenges, and it's the probably the greatest challenge the service, in my view, other than terrorism, has seen in the 21st Century."

On Monday, Marie Black, 34, of Norwich, was convicted of 23 counts, including rape and conspiracy to rape following a three-month trial at Norwich Crown Court.

She was said to be at the centre of a child sex abuse ring which saw children abused in front of other adults and one another.

The abuse often involved toys and at parties adults would play cards to decide who would get to abuse the children.

Image copyright Norfolk Police
Image caption Marie Black, Michael Rogers and Jason Adams preyed on children aged under 13

Michael Rogers, 53, from Romford, was found guilty of 14 counts including cruelty, rape and inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

Jason Adams, 43, of Norwich, was found guilty of 13 similar counts.

Carol Stadler, 60, also from Norwich, was found guilty of assault causing actual bodily harm but cleared of nine other charges, including serious sexual assaults.

They are due to be sentenced on 28 September.

The case featured 10 defendants - six of whom were cleared by the jury of all charges - and been described as one of the biggest and most complex child abuse investigation carried out by Norfolk Police.

"What we must never lose sight of when we talk about these cases is that we have victims that will have to live with abuse for the rest of their lives," said Mr Bailey.

"This is not just an issue for police, but for society generally."

Speaking of victims of abuse coming forward, he said: "There is no doubt that the Jimmy Savile case was a watershed moment.

"Since 2102, there has been an increase in reports year on year, and I see no sign of that abating."

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