Commenting on the announcement, National Police Chiefs Council Lead for Child Protection, Chief Constable Simon Bailey said:
“The internet is not a safe or anonymous place for abusing children. In collaboration with the National Crime Agency Child Exploitation and Online Protection command, the police service is doing more than ever before to stop the sexual abuse of children.
“We are already arresting over 400 offenders and safeguarding over 500 children each month. This increased investment will enable us to consistently target predatory offenders intent on using the internet to facilitate their criminal behaviour and intervene earlier to prevent children being abused.
“This increase in our undercover capability will send a clear message to so-called paedophile hunters: if you have information about child abuse, tell the police. Don’t try to take it into your own hands, you could undermine police investigations creating more risk for the children we all want to protect.
“If any member of the public has concerns about online grooming, they should report them to their local police, to CEOP at www.ceop.police.uk, or to Crimestoppers. If you think a child is at immediate risk of harm call 999.”
The funding is part of £52 million awarded by the Home Secretary from the Police Transformation Fund. Extra funding has also been made available for digitalisation and specialist capabilities.
National Police Chiefs’ Council Chair, Sara Thornton said:
“Chief constables and police and crime commissioners worked together to agree a Policing Vision 2025 – an ambitious programme of police-led reform. The projects receiving funding today are central to delivering that vision and improving policing for the public. Collectively they will transform the way digital evidence is transferred through the criminal justice system, raise standards in specialist capabilities like armed policing through a collaborative network and overhaul and modernise our IT and security infrastructure.”