Development of technology – both a challenge and an opportunity

Increased workload

Three quarters of the police officers say that their workload increased last year. Close to a quarter say that their workload is unchanged. This was also the case in the NetClean 2016 report.

According to the survey, the two biggest reasons for the increase in workload is an increase in data and more frequent and larger storage units, as well as new challenges brought on by developments in technology. Compared with last year’s findings, significantly more police officers state that development of technology is a reason for the increased workload (22.4 % as compared with 13.3% in 2016). To further explain the increase, the police officers surveyed also pointed to two, previously unmentioned, reasons: The wider use of the internet and the increased number of reports from Industry.

The increase in workload is not just a negative. With an increased awareness of the crime and with more sectors responding in an effective way, more crimes are detected. The police officers pointed to three factors in the survey that highlighted this: Greater general awareness and increased tendency to report the crime; a rise in mandatory reporting from industry; and better work processes and capacity.

Better equipped

Three quarters (74.1%) of the police officers surveyed state that their ability to process child sexual abuse investigations has improved compared with the previous year. They state the reason for this is improved tools, Project VIC*, more education and more resources.

In the NetClean Report 2016 a staggering 92 percent indicated that they are working under better conditions. Although the number is still high this year (74.1 %), in comparison, it is lower in this year’s report. Without further investigation it is not possible to determine why this is the case.

* Project VIC is an important driver behind the development of CSA investigations by producing innovative technology and new ways of ensuring a victim centric approach. Project VIC is a coalition between law enforcement across the world and the private sector.

Technology – a common theme

Technology’ is listed as a common theme both explaining why workloads have increased and as an answer to why police officers feel better equipped to deal with child sexual abuse investigations. While the development in technology presents big challenges for the police, it also offers the police new ways to deal with the crime.

COMMENT ON INSIGHT 1

“The problem is not increasing – we’re getting better”

Steven Wilson, Head of European Cybercrime Centre (EC3), Europol

READ THE COMMENT

“Police forces are increasingly approaching challenges on a more strategic level, there is greater awareness of how to tackle and prioritise this crime, better training for staff and also a greater awareness of the improved tools and resources that are available.”

More insights from the report

DEVELOPMENT OF TECHNOLOGY – BOTH A CHALLENGE AND AN OPPORTUNITY

THE “NORMAL CASE”: FEWER THAN 50,000–500,000 IMAGES

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A TYPICAL OFFENDER (Consumer of child sexual abuse material)

THERE IS A CORRELATION BETWEEN VIEWING CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE MATERIAL AND ABUSING CHILDREN

THE OFFENDER IS MOST LIKELY TO VICTIMISE CLOSE FAMILY MEMBERS OR RELATIVES

CSAM IS VIEWED 24-HOURS A DAY, THROUGHOUT THE WEEK – INCLUDING HOURS SPENT IN THE WORK PLACE

TRENDS: THE USE OF CHATROOMS AND APPS IS INCREASING

TRENDS: THE USE OF ANONYMISATION TECHNOLOGIES, ENCRYPTION AND CLOUD STORAGE IS INCREASING

THOUGHTS ON THE REPORT

“To eradicate child sexual abuse we need more resources, and, most importantly, they need to be applied in the right way.”