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October 26, 2023

A former police officer has been jailed for life over 160 child sexual offences

  • Lewis Edwards, a former police officer for South Wales police has been sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 12 years.
  • This follows him admitting to over 160 offences of child sexual abuse (CSA).
  • Some of his victims were as young as 10yearsold.
  • Edwards posed as a teenage boy to target young girls between 10 and 16 years-old, grooming them into sharing indecent images of themselves.
  • Snapchat was the platform he used to contact his victims.
  • He would blackmail and threaten his victims despite their pleas for him to stop, resulting in his victims complying with his demands out of fear.
  • For more, please visit the CPS website.

Online Safety Bill could become law on Thursday, Ofcom boss says

  • The chief executive of Ofcom Dame Melanie Dawes has stated that the Online Safety Bill could receive royal assent and become law as soon today.
  • The new internet safety laws for the UK will place new duties on social media platforms to protect users from harmful content, with Ofcom as regulator.
  • Dame Dawes gave evidence to the Science, Innovation and Technology Committee yesterday, saying she hoped Ofcom’s remit would “start tomorrow (Thursday) when the Bill, we hope, will receive royal assent.”
  • Ofcom is expected to set out how it will begin to use its powers in the coming weeks.
  • For more, please visit the Independent’s website.

Paedophiles using AI to turn singers and film stars into kids

  • The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) said images of a well-known female singer reimagined as a child are being shared by predators.
  • In May, the Home Secretary Suella Braverman and US Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, issued a joint statement committing to tackle the “alarming rise in despicable AI-generated images of children being sexually exploited by paedophiles.
  • The IWF report documented that in one folder, 501 images were uncovered, of a real-world victim, aged approximately 9-10 years old when she was subjected to sexual abuse. Predators shared a fine-tuned AI model file to allow others to generate more images of her.
  • In one month the IWF investigated 11,108 AI images shared on a dark web child abuse forum, and of these, 2,978 depicted child sexual abuse. 564 were classified as Category A, the most serious imagery.
  • The report reiterates the harm of AI images, through normalising predatory behaviour and the wasting of police resources as they investigate children that do not exist.
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.

NI primary school’s concern following two suspicious phone calls about pupils 

  • Police have received a “report of two suspicious phone calls” made to St Joseph’s Primary School, Killeavy, Newry.
  • The calls are reported to have been made this week.
  • The first phone call was by a man asking to take a child out of school for an appointment but no child under that name existed.
  • Four minutes later another phone call was recorded, whereby a man claiming to be a child’s father asked for an actual pupil from that school to be let out for an appointment.
  • The parents of this child were contacted and at no point did they phone into the school.
  • At no point was any child in danger and the PSNI were contacted regarding the incident.
  • The police said that appropriate protocols have been put in place by the school.
  • For more, please visit the Belfast Live’s website.

Charities write to Department of Education to warn about uncapped cost of school uniforms

  • The uncapped cost of school uniforms is “causing harm to children” several charities have warned.
  • A letter sent to the permanent secretary of the Department of Education said that some families are at “breaking point” over the cost of uniforms and warned that “children are not immune to their parents’ financial difficulties”.
  • A recent poll by Save the Children revealed that one in three parents have had to borrow money to be able to afford children’s uniforms and PE kits.
  • Save the Children NI are one of the charities which have signed the letter.
  • Naomi McBurney from Save the Children said: “From our research we know the current school uniform arrangements are out of step with what children need, and what the public expect from decision-making stakeholders.”
  • For more, please visit the Irish News website.