NCA Calls for Funding to Crack Down on Dark Web Child Abuse Images
The UK’s most prominent child abuse investigators have warned that more than 144,000 internet users across the UK are using the dark web to access indecent images. Tens of thousands of these users are accessing some of the most harmful categories of child abuse images, with the NCA outlining that the level of serious and organised crime in the UK is ‘truly staggering’. As a result, Director General of the National Crime Agency (NCA), Lynne Owens, has called for an additional £2.7 billion of investment from the government to tackle the large numbers of those participating and facilitating online child abuse.
“Enhancing our capabilities is critical to our national security. If we don’t, the whole of UK law enforcement, and therefore the public, will feel the consequences,”
“Some will say we cannot afford to provide more investment, but I say we cannot afford not to.”
In the most recent report on serious and organised crime released earlier this month, the NCA noted that the majority of online child sex abuse actually takes place on the open web as opposed to the dark web. However, the most harmful materials are accessed through the dark web, and NCA research has indicated that almost 2.9 million people were accessing such materials using the dark web.
The NCA has also seen a 700 per cent rise in the number of online child sex abuse and exploitation cases reported by internet firms.
Ms Owens continued:
“The organised criminals of today are indiscriminate – they care less about what types of crime they’re involved in, as long as it makes them a profit.
“These groups are preying on the most vulnerable in society, including young children and the elderly – those most unable to protect themselves.”
The NCA has noted that most reports the organisation receive involve male runners between the ages of 15 and 17. However, the organisation believes that cases involving young girls and vulnerable adults are under-reported.
The organisation has asked for additional funding which could be used to fund digital forensic operations, financial investigations and also covert surveillance operations.
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