New software to help police catch web paedophiles
NEW computer software set to be used by Notts police will boost efforts to catch internet paedophiles.
The Triage Investigator will allow specialist officers to get hold of logs from online chat rooms quicker – and get e-mail contact details within minutes to allow them to begin their inquiries.
At the moment, it can take force's hi-tech crime unit six to eight months to analyse computers seized from suspected online groomers, because of the volume of information recovered daily by officers.
This can mean chat logs and other vital information is lost by the time PCs are examined.
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The Triage Investigator, made by American firm ADF Solutions, speed-reads computers for chat logs, e-mail addresses and messages, web browser searches, desktop files, matches for 332,000 known indecent images of children and other images with similarities to them.
Depending on the number and complexity of searches requested, the program produces a table of its findings within a few minutes to a few hours.
"This will enable officers to begin investigations immediately and allow us to identify specific computers of interest, while ruling out others. It also means we can get computers back more quickly to their owners," said Detective Inspector Ian Winton, of Notts police's sexual exploitation and investigation unit.
"It is important for victims that police are able to get into computers early to see messages sent by the offender. It enables us to form an opinion of the risk they present, so other potential victims can be safeguarded."
Retired Notts detective sergeant Harry Parsonage now works for ADF Solutions and has been highlighting Triage Investigator's value to specialist officers.
The force's child abuse and sex offender management units will also use the technology. The child abuse unit received 763 referrals between November 1, 2009, and October 31, 2010.
Mr Parsonage said: "This is giving the investigators the chance to tap into computers right from day one in a way that is forensically sound but gives them information to progress an investigation. Sex offender management officers will also be able to use it check computers of registered sex offenders on their visits."
Mr Parsonage said the software could also help fraud and homicide investigations.
He added: "In some fraud inquiries, you can get 30 computers at once and it's important to eliminate some if there's no evidence on them."
Notts is one of a dozen forces in England and Wales due to start using the software.