MORE than 50 people in the West Mercia policing area have been arrested in the past year for possessing, downloading or distributing indecent images of children, new figures have revealed.

The NSPCC says more and more explicit pictures are being taken and is demanding action from the Government and the internet industry to curb the problem.

The child protection charity sent freedom of information requests to police forces all over the country and found that more than 2,300 arrests were made between April 2011 and March 2012.

Five of the 37 forces did not respond or were unable to supply information.

The Metropolitan Police reported the highest number of incidents with 241 prosecutions and Bedfordshire reported the lowest number of cases, with just four arrests made.

The NSPCC also asked forces to reveal how many child abuse images were now being seized. In 1990, just 7,000 child abuse pictures were in circulation, according to the Home Office.

However, figures from just five forces – Cambridgeshire, Nottinghamshire, Humberside, Lincolnshire and Dyfed-Powys – revealed that more than 26 million images were seized in two years between April 2010 and March 2012.

Child safety experts believe the number now in circulation could be as high as 300 million.