The Home Office has implemented the first phase of the UK’s national Child Abuse Image Database (CAID) project.
The scheme will link up existing databases across the 46 different police forces to create a single, secure database of illegal images of children.
This will allow them to share data, information and leads across local, national and international crime units such as Interpol so they can work together more effectively to catch paedophiles.
The Home Office has awarded a contract to help build the database to L-3 ASA and its partners NetClean and Hubstream, via the G-Cloud framework.
The companies will roll the service out to police and law enforcement agencies across the UK over the next two years.
NetClean’s ‘Analyse Collaboration’ server will act as a central hub for files to be stored and extracted for new investigations.
The database will allow investigators to search content on seized devices for child abuse images and will include functionality to differentiate between new and existing material so they can focus resources accordingly.
It will permit law enforcement organisations to identify links between cases more quickly, break abuse rings and spot new material that may uncover new victims, according to Netclean.
NetClean will integrate with Hubstream’s ‘Intelligence’ server to support investigations from intake, triage, reviewing and assigning investigations through to resolution and closure, the company said.
The database is the responsibility of the National Crime Agency (NCA), which was set up a year ago and is responsible for coordinating and leading a national response to organised crime.
Prime minister David Cameron announced plans to link up existing police child abuse databases into a single repository in a speech to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) in July 2013.
“The joined-up investigative approach that the CAID enables will have a significant impact on how law enforcement tackles sexual crimes against children and puts the UK at the forefront of how to investigate this crime”, said Johann Hofmann, product manager for NetClean Analyse.
“The CAID is a promising step in the intelligent analysis of digital media and big data, as the more data the system holds, the better insight it provides”, he added.