Norfolk’s chief constable calls on technology companies to do more to prevent child abuse

PUBLISHED: 19:00 29 September 2018

Chief Constable Simon Bailey at Norfolk Constabulary Headquarters, Wymondham. Photo : Steve Adams

Chief Constable Simon Bailey at Norfolk Constabulary Headquarters, Wymondham. Photo : Steve Adams

Copyright Archant Norfolk 2015

Norfolk’s chief constable has issued a call to technology companies to do more to help stop the sexual abuse of children around the world.

Simon Bailey, who is the national lead for child protection and abuse, said the entire police service was having to cope with an deal with an “exponential increase” in the number of referrals made to them involving indecent images of children.

Mr Bailey said: “We’ve seen a 700pc increase in the volume of referrals in the last five to six years.”

Norfolk’s top policeman said that in the past few years the threat to children had changed with forces increasingly seeing a large number of offenders paying to direct the live abuse of children in places like the Philippines.

Advances in technology and social media platforms have only added to the problems and Mr Bailey said technology companies needed to play a bigger part in helping police to end the abuse.

He said: “I’ve now been saying for three years its the social and moral responsibility of tech companies and service providers to prevent the uploading of images and to prevent the sharing of these images.”

“The technology industry has to do so much more to prevent the sharing of indecent images.”

Mr Bailey said police will not be able to arrest a way out of this alone and also called on parents to do their bit to ensure young people knew about the potential dangers and stayed safe online.

He said the police, through the it’s safer schools partnership, was trying to get that message through to youngsters.

But he said ultimately there was an onus on technology companies “to do there level best to prevent the uploading and sharing of indecent images”.

Mr Bailey’s comments come following figures which revealed that more than 1,000 child abuse image offences have been recorded by Norfolk Police since 2016 - the equivalent of more than one a day.

Figures obtained through a Freedom of Information (FoI) request reveal there were 459 offences recorded in 2017/18, compared to 559 in 2016/17.

Nationally, an offence was recorded on average every 23 minutes in 2017/18. The figure has increased by almost a quarter in a year to 22,724.

Meanwhile Suffolk Police saw offences up from 345 offences in 2016/17 to 389 in 2017/18.

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