IT seems ludicrous that a law adopted in Scotland as long ago as 2010, which made it an offence to send sexual messages to children, has only today come into force in England and Wales.

It has long been known that sexual predators commonly initiate their first contacts with children either online or by text messages and that can often lead to meetings being set up where the physical sexual abuse of children will then follow

The Government actually introduced the tougher legislation as long ago as 2015 following the NSPCC’s ‘Flaw in the Law’ campaign to close what was an obvious legislative loophole.

But, for what still seem unfathomable reasons, it failed to bring it into force in England and Wales until today when the continued efforts of the NSPCC, supported by 50,000 members of the public, finally convinced Justice Secretary Liz Truss to act.

For if anyone has doubts about the need for this legislation consider these facts:

Offences for meeting a child after grooming have increased by 138 per cent in the last five years in the Yorkshire region alone.

And since the legislation was introduced in Scotland in 2010, more than 1,500 offences of grooming have been recorded by police.

It is, therefore, fully understandable why so many parents constantly worry about who their children are contact with online or through texts.

All children, wherever they live in the UK, both deserve and expect to be given exactly the same protection by the law.

There can be absolutely no excuse not to.