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Paedophiles smarter and younger, says crime agency

By Hayden Smith

Younger and "more technologically astute" paedophiles are emerging as a challenge in efforts to tackle the spread of indecent images online, the National Crime Agency (NCA) has warned.

Offenders are said to be using services such as the dark web and encryption in attempts to avoid detection.

The NCA - known as Britain's FBI - highlighted the trend in its annual threat assessment of serious and organised crime.

"We are seeing the emergence of younger and more technologically astute offenders using online services, such as the dark web, to protect their anonymity," the report said.

"The use of encryption, together with general technological advancement, continue to pose challenges to law enforcement's reactive and proactive capabilities to trace offenders."

The proliferation of indecent images of children online has continued, the study said.

The NCA's Child Sexual Exploitation Referral Bureau now receives more than 1,800 referrals a month, compared with the 400 a month it had to deal with in 2010.

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