Paedophile victims database to aid police investigations
A computer database is being launched to help police trace the victims of paedophiles.
The software, called Childbase, features 220,000 photographs and images of children being abused.
The pictures were distributed by paedophiles on the internet and the database was constructed using images from crime scenes, gathered during the international investigation, Operation Cathedral, into the infamous paedophile ring known as the Wonderland Club.
Police face enormous difficulties identifying victims when they seize paedophile images from the computers of suspects.
It is difficult to identify whether or not the abuse has been investigated already and how long ago it took place.
Under the current system detectives face harrowing hours poring over books of photographs to identify victims. The new database could save police valuable time.
The software maps the facial characteristics of each victim and allocates a sequence of numbers, which can then be cross-checked within seconds against millions of images to find out whether it is a new victim.
The 1998 Operation Cathedral was the world’s first global internet paedophile investigation, spanning 14 countries.
The database will be available to every police force in the UK. It may eventually be used worldwide by law enforcement agencies investigating internet paedophiles.
The new database follows a decision in May by members of the G8 industrialised nations, including Britain, to set up an international database of images.
Access to the International Child Pornography Image Database will be strictly controlled and limited only to law enforcement agencies of participating countries and international bodies such as Interpol and Europol.
Each country is producing its own database, but Britain’s is the first and is likely to be used as the model for other countries.