LYON, France – INTERPOL has launched a new phase in the development of its international database of child abuse images, following completion of an implementation study commissioned and carried out by the G8 countries.
A formal ceremony at the General Secretariat on 15 September marked the beginning of the implementation process, following three years of development by members of the G8 Lyon/Roma Law Enforcement Projects Sub-Group, Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden, INTERPOL, Europol and supported by the European Commission.
The International Child Sexual Exploitation Database (ICSE) will help law enforcement agencies around the world to identify victims of online child abuse and those responsible. ICSE will allow national investigators, using the INTERPOL communications system, to have improved access to INTERPOL’s existing database, which already contains hundreds of thousands of images, as well as databases held by police in other countries.
In addition to allowing investigators to automatically check images and other information to match victims and locations, the database will also alert officers if an image is already known and has been identified or investigated.
'The victims of child abuse are among the most vulnerable members of society, and it is vital that police around the world have access to the most effective tools to help them investigate these sickening crimes,' said INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble.
'This database will be a giant step forward in helping to identify and rescue victims around the world, and we are looking forward to working with the G8 and our National Central Bureaus to ensure that it is delivered as quickly as possible.
'The existing INTERPOL child abuse image database has already led to the identification of more than 360 children since it’s creation in 2001, and with the technological advances already made, I am sure the ICSE database will prove to be even more effective.'
Speaking at the handing over ceremony, UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Policing, Security and Community Safety Paul Goggins praised the work undertaken by the G8 Lyon-Roma group.
'It is important to remember that images of abused children on the internet are not just pictures, they are real children.
'The Home Secretary and ministerial colleagues in the G8, EU and beyond are deeply committed to ensuring this database is effectively used to protect children and identify and punish their abusers. This is an issue which highlights the essential work of INTERPOL in facilitating co-operation between law enforcement agencies in different countries in an increasingly connected world .'
The ICSE database Implementation Study began in February 2001 in response to concerns raised in a meeting of the G8 Justice and Interior Ministers over the expansion of online child abuse.