Skip to content Quick exit

Obscene material

Obscene, illegal or pornographic material


The possession of and distribution of adult pornography is, as a general rule, not illegal. But receiving these types of images through unsolicited email can cause distress.

It is up to you if you think the matter is serious enough to report to the police. Visit the Internet Watch Foundation for further information and guidance.


If you are receiving a lot of offensive emails from the same source and you believe you know who is sending them, this may be an offence under the Harassment Act 1997.

Make sure you save the emails or alternatively print them out as hard copies. Contact Hertfordshire Constabulary and we will advise you on the best course of action.

Indecent images of children (child sexual abuse content)

It is a criminal offence to possess, manufacture or distribute indecent images and video of children. These are extremely serious offences and will result in a prison sentence.

Sometimes people receive unsolicited emails (spam) that contain indecent images of children. These emails are sent in a totally random way and not directed at an individual deliberately.

If you are concerned about any images found on the internet or you are sent obscene images of children by email, contact Hertfordshire Constabulary as soon as possible or report the matter to the  Internet Watch Foundation.

Don't, under any circumstances, email the image(s) or print them, not even to the police. This will be seen as distribution which is a criminal offence.

Don't delete the image(s) as they may be needed as evidence in criminal proceedings.
You may want to consider informing your Internet Service Provider, as well as block the sender's email address using the controls on your email account.


If you are sent a link to a website which contains indecent sexual content relating to children, email the web address to the  Internet Watch Foundation or the  Virtual Global Taskforce who will investigate the sites and try to close them down.

If you keep getting 'pop up' windows that take you to similar links, disable cookies in your browser. Cookies are a way of holding information about your internet use, which can make it easy for similar types of emails or links to be sent.

If you know of a child who is at immediate risk call 999.

Our website uses cookies to improve your experience.