Detectives from the Child Sexual Exploitation team have made an arrest today (Thursday 24th February) in the Ballymoney area.
Detective Chief Inspector, Kerry Brennan, from Public Protection Branch said: “Following a proactive policing operation shortly before a 5am, a 53-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted sexual communication with a child and attempting to arrange or facilitate the commission of a sex offence with a child.
“He remains in custody, assisting with enquiries at this stage.”
Detective Chief Inspector Kerry Brennan is advising parents to be on their guard when it comes to online safety : “We know that children are being groomed online in Northern Ireland.
“Children now have access to numerous digital devices at home, meaning they are at greater risk to be targeted by online predators.
“We want to help parents understand the dangers online and encourage them to have the same safeguarding conversations that they would if their children were leaving the house to go outside to play.
“Just because they are in their room on their devices, doesn’t mean they are safe. Your child could be talking to anyone online. Check in regularly, find out who they are talking to and educate yourself and your child about the importance of online safety.”
Officers are working closely with local schools, Department of Education and the Education Authority to highlight the potential dangers online, and would appeal to any parents concerned that children may be being groomed online or at risk, to contact police on 101, or in an emergency always dial 999.
For more information on how to spot the signs of online grooming you can visit the NSPCC website here: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/what-is-child-abuse/types-of-abuse/grooming/