Theresa May has set up revolutionary secure database to transform way police tackle online exploitation.
Police will be able to nail suspected paedophiles within MINUTES using new high-tech scanners to hunt out child abuse images.
Every force is now linked up to a central database which can scour computers for vile material quicker than ever before.
Using traditional methods, it would take three days to weed out 10,000 illegal pictures stored on a laptop.
Now they can be found, matched and processed in under an hour, leaving cops more time to identify victims.
Home Secretary Theresa May has set up a revolutionary secure database of indecent images which will transform the way police tackle online child sexual exploitation.
Only seven forces were hooked up to the system earlier in the year. Yet in six months it helped identify 185 victims of abuse – more than for the whole of last year.
The Child Abuse Image Database – CAID – contains 4.4 million images which police have encountered.
They can be quickly compared against the contents of any suspected computer to check if it contains any of the same pictures.
It cuts the stress and workload placed on investigators by allowing them to categorise the contents on seized devices.
West Yorkshire police used it to scan a suspect’s hard drive in May. It matched 1,200 indecent images of children against the database within 15 minutes.
The suspect was presented with the evidence while in custody during the first interview. Previously it would have taken MONTHS to progress the case.
CAID is funded from £50 million pledged by the government over five years to tackle violence against children globally.
Mrs May said: “The projects the UK has supported in the first year of this fund are already making a difference to the lives of children around the world.
“We can only eliminate online child sexual exploitation if every country has the capacity and expertise to identify and prosecute the perpetrators and keep children safe.”
The system also allows police to track down digital fingerprints left by ringleaders who share indecent images.
More than 19,000 digital fingerprints have been assessed by investigators and shared with five major global technology firms.
Britain is also supporting programmes in 17 countries to combat online child exploitation.