The Daily Telegraph, Tuesday 28 February 2017, page 14
Officials forced to apologise and refer themselves to the regulator after data breach on first day of hearingsOfficials at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) have been forced to apologise to some of the victims after accidentally sending out a list of their email addresses on the first day of public hearings.
The Times, Tuesday 28 February 2017, front page
Paedophiles who view indecent images should not be given any criminal sanction unless they pose a physical threat to children, according to Britain’s most senior child protection police officer.
Simon Bailey said that the policing system had reached “saturation point” from increasing reports of sexual abuse, including online and historical cases. Lower-level offending should be decriminalised and dealt with through counselling and rehabilitation, said Mr Bailey, who takes the lead on child protection at the National Police Chiefs Council.
He acknowledged that the stance would horrify many people but said that police forces had limited resources and needed to focus on offenders posing a threat of contact abuse. He said: “The police service [is] having to deal with an unprecedented volume of reports of non-recent abuse, ongoing abuse, online abuse, peer-to-peer abuse. The numbers are continuing to rise. We have reached saturation point . . . The police service has responded to the threat but it has now reached that point whereby we have to try and turn the tide. We have to look at alternatives.”
The number of child abuse reports has risen by 80 per cent in three years. Police receive an average of 112 complaints a day and there are more than 70,000 investigations a year. Forces are also preparing for an estimated 40,000 reports of abuse from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, which began hearing evidence yesterday. The figure comes from modelling based on a similar public inquiry in Australia.
Mr Bailey, head of Operation Hydrant, the national investigation into historical child sexual abuse, added: “How can the police service be expected to cope with all that if, in the margins, we are still having to deal with what I would describe as very, very low-risk offenders, who, based upon good risk assessments, pose little if any actual threat of contact abuse? . . . Those individuals that you can say with a degree of certainty genuinely don’t pose a physical threat — that to me seems to be a reasonable line [for an alternative approach].”