The home secretary has said the Child Abuse Image Database will speed up investigations
All of the country’s police forces have now signed up for access to the Child Abuse Image Database (CAID), making it possible to identify victims within minutes rather than days.
The Home Office has announced that all 43 forces across the UK are on course to use CAID, after it was made available to just seven on its introduction in December of last year.
It makes it possible to complete a review of a potential victim within an hour, rather than up to three days that it has taken police officers in checking traditional databases with up to 10,000 images.
Ministers believe faster investigations are already bearing fruit, with 185 victims of this abuse identified in the first six months of this year - more than for the whole of any previous year.
Home Secretary Theresa May (pictured) said: “Online child sexual exploitation is a complex crime and we must be innovative in the way we target these devious offenders who use the internet to prey on innocent children.
“The fact that every UK police force has now signed up to the Child Abuse Image Database means more victims are now being identified than ever before; investigations are faster and more effective.”
The announcement came during the WePROTECT summit in Abu Dhabi, which followed a similar event in London at the end of last year.
Ministers have said CAID is one aspect of an improved global fight against child sexual exploitation, including working with technology companies to share digital ‘fingerprints’ of indecent images.
Almost 19,000 of these hashes – all of which originated from CAID – have been shared with five major companies to enable them to be removed from the firms’ platforms and services.
At the London summit, David Cameron pledged £50 million over five years to tackle violence against children globally.
Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0