Published: 30 June 2021 at 00:00
Chief Constable Bailey will take aim at social media companies in final speech
Chief Constable Simon Bailey, the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s lead on child protection, will use his final day in office to warn that the fight against child sexual abuse can only be won with the support of the social media giants.
The outgoing head of Norfolk Constabulary will deliver a speech on Wednesday, 30 June at the PIER21 conference, organised by Anglia Ruskin University’s Policing Institute for the Eastern Region.
During his talk he will say that Facebook’s decision to introduce blanket end-to-end encryption threatens to “turn the lights off” on the issue of online child sexual abuse, allowing offenders to upload, share and view indecent images undetected.
Chief Constable Bailey, who is retiring from the police on 30 June after 35 years’ service, will say:
Chief Constable Bailey will describe the current scale of offending as an “epidemic”. There are now 20 million unique images of child sexual abuse securely stored on the Police’s Child Abuse Image Database (CAID), and this figure is increasing at a rate of approximately 250,000 every month. The National Crime Agency estimates there are between 500,000 and 850,000 people in the UK who pose a threat to children.
Looking back on his time as the NPCC’s national lead on child protection, he will say:
The PIER21 conference at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), taking place on 29-30 June, will bring together leading researchers to present the most up-to-date work focusing on the investigation and prevention of online child sexual abuse.
The online conference will highlight what is being done to combat the threat, the latest technology available to law enforcement targeting abusers, and the emergence of new threats. In addition to Chief Constable Bailey, invited speakers will include Susie Hargreaves of the Internet Watch Foundation and Rob Jones, Director of Threat Leadership at the National Crime Agency.
ARU’s PIER carries out research into child sexual abuse and in December 2020 received £860,000 funding from the Dawes Trust to investigate, help shape policy, and develop solutions to some of the issues currently being faced.
This four-year research programme will see PIER work closely with the Ministry of Justice, the Home Office, and the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), and will be led by Dr Samantha Lundrigan, the Director of PIER.