https://homeofficemedia.blog.gov.uk/2019/04/24/5623/

Home Office in the media blog: Wednesday 24 April

Today's Home Office in the media stories include police screening crimes and a report on the challenges of tackling online child sexual abuse images.

Home Office in the media

Police crime screening

There is widespread coverage of comments by Greater Manchester Police chief constable Ian Hopkins, who said that police forces are routinely “screening out”, reported crimes.

The Telegraph reports that Mr Hopkins admitted that six in ten crimes are no longer fully investigated, and thefts are “screened out” if there are no witnesses, CCTV or forensics. The paper says that Mr Hopkins told BBC Radio Manchester that out of the nearly 1,000 crimes they record a day, about 60 per cent are screened out early on, so there is “a very basic investigation under taken”.

The Daily Mail splashes with the story that police forces are routinely failing to investigate up to half of reported crimes. Greater Manchester Police screen out 43 per cent of alleged offences or solves them fast, the paper says. The Mail reports that their own survey reveals that other police forces have done the same. Wiltshire Police screen out more than 56 per cent of alleged offences within 24 hours, and Bedfordshire Police gave a figure of 43 per cent, the Mail reports.

Analysis of data from 10 police forces, including Manchester and the Met, by the Telegraph, showed almost 500,000 offences were dropped within 24 hours of being reported.

A Home Office spokesperson said:

We recognise the impact crime has on victims and want offenders brought to justice. We are committed to ensuring police forces have the resources they need to carry out their vital work, and have reviewed the changing and increasingly complex demands on them.

Greater Manchester Police’s funding will be £591.8m in 2019/20, an increase of £35.8m.

Pressures on police forces will always be different in different parts of the country, which is why it is important that chief officers and elected police and crime commissioners are able to set priorities which reflect the concerns of the people they serve.

Child sexual abuse report

The Telegraph, Mail, Times and Independent report on an Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) analysis of the problem of tackling child sex abuse images online.

The Independent leads on a huge surge in the number of images found online. As many as 105,000 internet pages carrying millions of abuse images were removed last year– an increase of more than a third in 12 months.

Up to one in three images is self-generated by children live-streaming from their own homes, the Telegraph reports. It said that 27 per cent of the web pages removed last year contained self-generated videos of pictures.

Four in ten of the victims shown in the images were younger than 10, the Mail reports, adding that 0.04 per cent of the pages removed could be traced back to the UK. More than half were hosted in the Netherlands.

Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability Victoria Atkins said:

Olivia’s story is a heartbreaking example of the horrific ordeal that victims of child sexual abuse can go through. Tackling this sickening crime head on is a top priority of the Government.

The IWF do incredible work in removing this content from the web, but we need to stop this material from appearing in the first place. The Online Harms White Paper, launched this month, will ensure that tech companies have a legal responsibility to remove this vile material from their platforms with severe sanctions for those that do not.

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