Over half of police investigations into online child abuse are “inadequate”

New report into police dealing of online child abuse examined 124 case files across six police forces

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) have published a report into how the UK’s police forces deal with the online sexual exploitation of children. Over half (52%) were judged to be inadequate or needing improvement.

Although the HMIC found police forces to consider child protection a priority, “there is a gap between force priority and practice on the ground.”

"It’s a damning indictment of police forces that over half of investigations into online child abuse are inadequate."
Peter Wanless / NSPCC CEO

The report, ‘Online and on the edge: real risks in a virtual world’, suggests that police do not always understand the risks an offender may pose. It also suggests that “the low number of police officers and police staff dedicated to police investigations can do little more than scratch the surface of the total volume offending.”

Peter Wanless, Chief Executive of the NSPCC, said: “Despite national commitments and the dedication of officers tackling these darkest of crimes, at a local level vital opportunities to protect children are being missed by the police. Backlogs in forensic analysis of seized devices, lack of training, supervision and poor prioritisation of the most dangerous offenders mean the current police response is just scratching the surface of the crimes committed.”