Sexting is just what kids do says new police guidelines
Children who text naked photos of themselves to friends will no longer face prosecution and a possible criminal record under proposed new guidance. Currently a teenager's name can be stored for up to 100 years on the national police database if an officer is told the child sent an explicit image.
Any child aged under 18 caught 'sexting' can be hauled to court and placed on the sex offenders' register.
This could hamper their chances of getting a job because potential employers could learn of the incident if they conducted a criminal record check.
But following concerns that the system is too draconian and risks criminalising millions of teenagers who consensually share racy photos with their partners or friends, the rules are being relaxed.
Guidance to be sent to police forces within weeks will reflect the fact that the authorities could be overwhelmed investigating 'sexting' even though it has become a normal part of growing up.
It will tell officers to take into account the ages of the children involved, whether a school pupil has been coerced into sending or receiving an image and if the pictures show full frontal nudity.
Serious cases would include using graphic image to bully a child or the distribution of intimate photographs to lots of people as an act of revenge.