Technology and the fight against child abuse

Technology has a critical role to play in the fight against the abuse of children and minors.

It enables law enforcement in identifying offenders online and assisting in the investigation of criminality relating to child abuse – including grooming of minors online, the distribution of indecent imagery and serious organised crime networks involving child trafficking.

Yet technology is also part of the problem, and as it advances so does the ability to facilitate abuse. Organised child abuse is now a pertinent issue internationally due to the ease in which perpetrators can access and facilitate materials and networks through web applications and other devices. 

We spoke to Chief Constable Simon Bailey, Chief Constable of Norfolk Constabulary and NPCC lead for Child Protection and Abuse Investigations.

Simon comments:

“Technology is enabling me to lead the fight against this criminality however technology is also being used to facilitate abuse”.

Simon highlights that the public should always bring any concerns of child abuse to the attention of the police. There is a question around vigilante groups and their motives in the safeguarding of the children at the centre of abuse. Ultimately the only way to protect and safeguard children is to contact the police as soon as any wrongdoing or abuse is suspected.

This interview is part of our Policing Spotlight series where we explore key issues relating to policing in the UK, with senior law enforcement figures. To view the video interview and follow the series, visit our Policing Spotlight page.

ICT in Policing – Insight Into User Perspectives

The Police ICT User Perspectives survey results were released at the end of last year by CoPaCC as a finger on the pulse on police and employees’ perspectives on their ICT infrastructure. It was the second instalment in the series, with the next due out in the coming months.

A recognised survey across law enforcement in the UK, and the largest public sector survey of its kind, CoPaCC surveyed a total of 4,000 police officers across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The comprehensive survey produced a staggering 18,500 free-text comments providing invaluable insight into perspectives on ICT within policing.

We spoke to Bernard Rix, Chief Executive of CoPaCC  on some of the key findings from the survey.

There are a number of opportunities for improved ICT within policing relating to the fundamentals:

  • More efficient use of passwords
  • Improved printing facilities
  • Investment in bandwidth to support new systems
  • Integration of systems

CoPaCC’s  recommendations were:

  • For forces to look at the findings from the survey not just through the lens of improving systems, but improving the infrastructure that accompanies them
  • IT helpdesks are typically Monday to Friday, 9-5pm and they need to be 24/7 365 as forces are

The fantastic volume and depth of data collated from the survey means that as well as the overall report already published, CoPaCC will soon be publishing a series of ‘deep dive’ reports that look at the data in more depth.

These reports will be published in September as the CoPaCC Police ICT: Forces in Focus series. This series deep dives the results of the ten forces providing the largest response to the survey. The main report in the series will compare and contrast the ICT provision of these diverse forces and benchmark them against the overall UK results. Three further regional appendix reports will provide in-depth analysis of each of the ten forces individually.

The reports will chart the quantitative results and provide unique insight into the specific challenges faced by each force in the eyes of their officers and staff, through analysis of their in-depth comments.

This interview is part of our Policing Spotlight series where we explore key issues relating to policing in the UK, with senior law enforcement figures. To view the video interview and follow the series, visit our Policing Spotlight page.

The Ben Kinsella Trust and Sopra Steria – steps forward in the fight against knife crime

On Thursday 27 June, the sun shone from the sky above the prestigious National Justice Museum in Nottingham, the perfect setting for a momentous day. It was a day to mark the opening of The Ben Kinsella Trust’s second anti- knife crime exhibition in the UK, as well as Sopra Steria proudly announcing their strategic partnership with the charity, along with their joint ventures Shared Services Connected Ltd and NHS Shared Business Services.

Last weekend marked 11 years since Ben Kinsella was tragically murdered in a random and unprovoked knife attack following a night out with friends. Since then, Ben’s family have tirelessly devoted much of their lives to educating young people and the general public about the devastating consequences of knife crime, through their charity The Ben Kinsella Trust.

For many years, the charity’s work has centred around their London exhibition in Islington – an interactive workshop for children and young people, sharing Ben’s story whilst provoking thought on the consequences of carrying a knife. Thousands of young people have been impacted in this way by the charity’s powerful message.

The opening of the Nottingham exhibition

The launch of the charity’s second exhibition in Nottingham was therefore a significant leap forward in their mission. The exhibition is housed in the impressive National Justice Museum, a former court and jail house, dating back to the nineteenth century and in operation until the eighties.

Fittingly, The National Justice Museum have also been serving children and young people of the local community for many years, educating them on the criminal justice system while exploring urgent issues like knife and cyber crime.

An unforgettable day

The launch brought together all parts of the Nottingham community; the local council,  police, youth and charity workers, and local business and education leaders. As well as Ben’s family, other families impacted by knife crime across Nottinghamshire were also present to support the launch.

The grand former court room was the setting for the opening of the afternoon’s proceedings where we heard from Home Office Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability Victoria Atkins; Ben’s sister Brooke Kinsella MBE and CEO of the Ben Kinsella Trust, Patrick Green. Also speaking at the launch was Police and Crime Commissioner, Paddy Tipping; CEO of the National Justice Museum, Victoria Reeves and Chairman of Nottingham Business Improvement District, Jeff Allen.

The rhetoric was clear – the knife crime epidemic can be counteracted with the proper education and support of young people, and cities like Nottingham will only thrive if there are clear strategies and commitment from the government, local authorities, the police, and other public services, working together with charities, businesses and local communities in the fight against knife crime.

The day concluded with a tour of the interactive exhibition in the former police station adjacent to the museum. The emotive and, in some places upsetting exhibition, takes its participants through a journey of Ben’s story while challenging assumptions about carrying a knife.

Immersive theatre is introduced at the final stage of the workshop – an A&E resuscitation room depicting the harrowing consequences of a knife attack followed by time spent in a jail cell with an ‘inmate’ convicted on joint enterprise following their involvement in a knife attack. The role play exercise puts the young people through their paces and reveals the stark realities of prison existence. Participants are left educated, reflective, challenged and inspired. Like the thousands of young people who have experienced this in the London exhibition, there are high hopes for the difference this new exhibition will too make to the young people of Nottingham.

Sopra Steria and The Ben Kinsella Trust partnership

The Sopra Steria team were honoured to be a part of the charity’s opening of their second exhibition and are extremely proud to be in partnership with the trust.

Through this unique model we will use our digital expertise and capabilities as well as our deep experience of working in the end to end justice sector, to help the trust digitally transform and scale their organisation, including implementing an innovative virtual reality experience for their exhibitions.

We are proud to be using ‘tech for good’ and making a fundamental difference to the future of The Ben Kinsella Trust.

Brendan Swarbrick, Executive Client Director, Home Office

Project IRIS framework contract awarded for SMARTi3

Sopra Steria have been awarded a framework contract as part of Project IRIS for our SMARTi3 Open Source Intelligence gathering system.

Project Iris is a Police Transformation Fund (PTF) supported project, coordinated by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) Internet Intelligence and Investigations (III) Lead. It has established nationally agreed requirements for evidence capture as well as internet connectivity and audit tools across law enforcement.

The project represents all Police Forces in England and Wales and associated forces and agencies across the UK, including Police Scotland and the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Vern Davis, Managing Director of Sopra Steria’s Aerospace, Defence and Security sector commented:

“Sopra Steria are delighted to have SMARTi3 Open Source Intelligence gathering system included as part of the Project IRIS framework. This powerful system is deployed in the cloud, offering a range of different security levels appropriate to the investigation. We are proud to be assisting in the prevention of serious organised crime. To be included in the framework demonstrates our commitment to helping transform law enforcement in the UK.”  

SMARTi3’s sophisticated algorithms sift through vast amounts of open source data in minutes, slashing time-to-intelligence from hours to minutes. Securely hosted in the UK, the system dramatically speeds up intelligence gathering and evidence development. The system can help in any nature of investigation whether that be in law enforcement, or in other government and public sector organisations and agencies.

The system will be available on a flexible procurement framework held by the Police ICT Company. Forces will be able to select a solution which best fits their individual needs in the knowledge that solutions meet an agreed industry standard.

For further information on SMARTi3, please contact Nick.Macdonald@soprasteria.com.

Four steps to an environmentally-sustainable business

Sopra Steria’s UK Aerospace Team recently attended the Paris Air Show, a landmark event held every other year that brings together all of the industry’s major players. This show is where deals are made, contracts are announced and the latest technologies and aircraft are unveiled. While Industry 4.0 and intelligent automation still dominate conversations, at this year’s show sustainability was propelled to the top of the agenda. Seven of the world’s largest companies – Airbus, Boeing, Dassault, GE Aviation, Rolls-Royce, Safran and United Technologies – joined together to commit to the development of cleaner, ‘greener’ aircraft and engines to reduce CO2 emissions.

In a statement issued during the show the Chief Technology Officers of the seven aviation leaders were keen to espouse the benefits of air travel, while emphasising the extent to which the industry is serious about reducing the impact of climate change:

‘Aviation connects our world by efficiently and rapidly moving people, opening new economic opportunities and transporting food and goods all over our planet. Aviation promotes global understanding, generating rich cultural exchanges and thereby contributing to peaceful co-existence.

At the same time, climate change has become a clear concern for our society. Humanity’s impact on the climate requires action on many fronts. The aviation industry is already taking significant action to protect the planet and will continue to do so.’

It seems that environmental sustainability has taken the world by storm, from the very corporate examples demonstrated at the Paris Air Show to the recent headline-grabbing pink yacht blockade of the Extinction Rebellion.

At Sopra Steria we are proud of our exemplary approach to sustainability, and, in the section below, share four practical actions that businesses can take to address their environmental impact.

Nudge

‘If you want someone to do something, make it easy’ said economist Richard Thaler in a recent TED Talk. Making it as easy as possible for employees to recycle, remember to switch off equipment and make plastic-free choices – so that it is no more effort than the alternative – is a great start. At Sopra Steria, we were able to divert 100% of our waste from landfill by having removed desk-side bins and ensured that refuse areas are clearly labelled. We are also working to replace plastic packaging with an alternative that is compostable, which will eliminate over 498,000 items of single-use plastics – equivalent in carbon emissions to eight flights from London to New York.

Demand

Businesses order a lot of things – from pencils to storage cabinets! Being mindful of a supplier’s environmental credentials in procurement is a great way for a small process tweak to have a significant impact. Feed back and feed forward; businesses can and should demand more from their supply chain when it comes to environmental concerns. Key suppliers to Sopra Steria are required to participate in our Sustainable Supply Chain Programme, including independent assessment and a requirement for them to manage supply chain risks proactively, establishing measures and targets. We have outlined an expectation with 90% of our key suppliers that they have greenhouse gas reduction targets in place by 2025.

Stay

Typically, most service companies’ emissions come from business travel. Although meeting face-to-face is beneficial for productive relationships within and outside of an organisation, it is vital that employees question whether routine meetings could be handled remotely to reduce their environmental impact. At Sopra Steria we encourage and equip our staff to work and meet remotely using tele- and video-conferencing technology. To make the environmental cost of business travel more explicit we introduced shadow carbon pricing, which has led to a reduction in emissions per employee from business travel of 20.9% from 2015 levels.

Practise

…what you preach. Don’t just focus on the changes that can be effected internally – pass on best practices to customers too. At Sopra Steria all services are certified CarbonNeutral®, which we enhance with our formalised Sustainable Service Delivery (SSD) approach to managing economic, social and environmental concerns as an integrated part of our work with clients. SSD establishes a sustainability policy and a programme of improvement initiatives that are tailored to our customers and their own sustainability and social value priorities.

The United Nations’ recently declared that we could have just 11 years left to limit a climate change catastrophe, so the time for businesses to act is now.

The Armed Forces community and the corporate world; transferable skills to add business value

This weekend, more than 300 events were held across the UK to mark Armed Forces Day.

As an Armed Forces Corporate Covenant signatory Sopra Steria encouraged employees to support their local events, in order to acknowledge the community who protect our nation with honour and courage.

The Armed Forces community – including not only veterans, but reservists, cadet instructors and spouses of serving members – plays a vital role in the fabric of Sopra Steria UK. This is not an accident; the Armed Forces equip individuals with exceptional training, resourcefulness and transferable skills, all of which can enhance an organisation’s effectiveness.

However, the civilian workplace can sometimes be a worrying prospect for a member of the Armed Forces community – particularly new veterans who may be struggling to adapt to their new way of life. A Sopra Steria employee recounts: ‘I thought leaving the military after 25 years and moving into the corporate world would be extremely daunting.’ Happily the employee in question grew to recognise that the skills he gained were extremely valuable to the business: ‘They helped me to see that skills and experience I had gained over the years were transferable, which immediately put my mind at ease, making my transition into the civilian world so much easier.’

This is sadly not the case for all veterans, as outlined by the charity Veterans Work following a recent report: ‘Across the country, three in ten businesses admit they have not even considered employing veterans. While the majority claim to be more open minded, 60 per cent of businesses rule out recruiting someone if they have no industry specific experience. There are roughly 700,000 veterans currently in employment, over half find themselves in routine, low-skilled or low-paid jobs. It is an alarming waste of talent.’ In this company we recognise the potential in Service veterans, even if they often don’t recognise it themselves.

It is in the interest of businesses like ours to facilitate such transitions by creating welcoming and supportive working environments, underpinned by core values; this resonated with me when I joined Sopra Steria as an Armed Forces veteran. We have more work to do as part of our pro-active Armed Forces Engagement Initiative, but I’m proud to lead a team that includes many members of the Armed Forces community who are thriving and fulfilled in their careers.

Vern Davis, Head of Aerospace, Defence & Security

ESG Charity Week: Raising money for The Police Arboretum Memorial Trust

Last week our Emergency Services sector hosted a charity week in the Holborn office to support the UK Police Arboretum Memorial Trust. We want to show our continued support for the Police Forces by raising awareness during this week.

Police Arboretum Memorial Trust

The Police Arboretum Memorial Trust started in 2015, to establish a new UK Police Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, the nation’s year-round place for remembrance, ceremony and quiet reflection. They are currently undertaking a campaign to raise at least £4 million to design, build and maintain the new UK Police Memorial. Since 1749 and the creation of the Bow Street Runners, as the world’s first recognised police service, more than 4,000 men and women have given their lives to serve and protect our communities in the UK.

The vision for the new memorial is to pay tribute to the UK’s police service and to honour the dedication, courage and sacrifice of its members who have given their lives to serve and protect their communities, complementing other police memorials around the UK. The new memorial has been designed in consultation with police family stakeholders and will include permanent inscription of the names of both officers and staff who have sustained injuries and subsequently died in the discharge of their lawful duties. Cut-outs of the Memorial fabric will be engraved with the names of the fallen and given to their families as permanent keepsakes for remembrance. The Trust will ensure that an investment fund is available at the end of the project to maintain the Memorial for the nation and to be used to help support the families of the fallen, in partnership with other organisations who provide care.

The Week

The Monday went really well as we worked closely with the Community Matters week combining the Mario Kart competition with the bake-off to great effect. Day 1 of Mario Kart led to fierce competition within the Grad and Digital Practice communities. It was so fierce that David Machin spent most of Monday night trying to beat the fastest track time.

The Tuesday initially started off slowly with the sponging of Muz Janoowalla. At first, people seemed  reluctant to throw sponges at him (maybe fearing for their jobs). However, all it took was one person to participate, which then led to a big scene in the kitchen area. We even had additional volunteers from the office to get sponged to ensure their teams got involved!

On Thursday there was a “Games and Grub” lunch, which involved another competitive day of Mario Kart, games such as Connect 4 and UNO, and various refreshments. More than a dozen people participated in the games and overall it was a huge success.

We hope that all Sopra Steria, Holborn based employees enjoyed themselves and if you would still like to donate you can by following this link: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/esgcharityweek2019