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  1. ITV Report

Norfolk Police Chief Constable welcomes new tech in fight against child abuse

Simon Bailey is the Chief Constable of Norfolk Police. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The Chief Constable of Norfolk Police says new technology to be used in the fight against child abuse will mean they can catch more offenders.

Simon Bailey who is the national lead for child protection has welcomed the announcement that new technology is to be introduced.

It will allow officers to identify children on the Child Abuse Image Database much quicker and identify places where offences happen.

"There have been year on year increases in reports of people accessing indecent images of children and as a service, we are searching more properties, arresting more suspects and safeguarding more children than ever before. The improvements to the Child Abuse Image Database will enable us to catch more offenders, rescue more children from harm and reduce the pressure and trauma on our officers from having to review every image manually.

– Chief Constable of Norfolk Police, Simon Bailey

The new "game-changing" innovations will improve the capability of the Child Abuse Image Database will speed up investigations, automatically categorise indecent images and help identify places where children have been abused

Number of images on the database has topped 13 million and grows by 500,000 every two months

Following successful trials, the tools will now be rolled out to forces across England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland as well as the National Crime Agency

This year, the Home Office will invest £8.2 million into the programme to help law enforcement get ahead of the threat

New technology will help in the fight against child abuse. Credit: ITV News Anglia

"Vile predators who are creating, viewing or sharing indecent imagery of children are constantly adapting their tactics to evade capture. We must move at the same pace and evolve to ensure we catch these paedophiles, bring them to justice and protect vulnerable victims. This game-changing tech will help us do this and will be vital in the fight against online child abusers."

– Home Secretary Sajid Javid

Three revolutionary new tools will be rolled out to improve the capability of the Child Abuse Image Database (CAID), in a huge boost to bring child sexual abusers to justice and safeguard victims.

Today (Friday 12 July) Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced forces across the UK will have access to new tools, which will speed up investigations of online child abuse and limit the number of Indecent Images of Children (IIOC) police officers have to view.

CAID is a single database of IIOC which enables UK law enforcement to work collaboratively to safeguard children and bring people to justice.

  • The new tools to be phased in following successful trials are:
  • A fast-forensic tool to rapidly analyse seized devices and find images already known to law enforcement.
  • An image categorisation algorithm to assist officers to identify and categorise the severity of illegal imagery.
  • A capability to detect images with matching scenes to help identify children in indecent images in order to safeguard victims.

CAID was first introduced to police forces from December 2014. There are currently 13 million images on CAID and the number grows on average by half a million every two months. The Home Office has invested £18.2 million into the programme since 2014, with the new innovations costing £1.76 million.

The fast-forensic tool will allow a rapid analysis of a device against images on CAID, which will significantly free up police time. For example, with the new tech a 1TB drive would take just 30 minutes to process, when previously it would take up to 24 hours.

The Home Office is currently discussing with the Senior Judiciary and stakeholders on how machine grading can be used in future prosecutions to lessen the burden on officers

The third innovation will help identify victims using scene matching technology in indecent images of children.