Dubbed the Child Abuse Image Database (Caid) the new system will be launched by the Prime Minister at an internet safety event on Thursday 11 December.
The big idea is to avoid offices duplicating each other’s’ efforts when cataloguing identical copied images. It was created by a team of coders working in central Gothenburg, Sweden with the idea of transforming the way child abuse investigations were carried out in the UK.
It could see investigations being reduced from months to days
Basically when Inspector Knacker of the yard seizes computers, mobile devices or USB memory sticks they find hundreds of thousands of images on them. They have to go through the images manually one by one to categorise their severity and consider a prosecution.
Some material is never analysed, meaning new victims are not identified and cannot be rescued.
The software would help automate more of the process by enabling investigators to spend more time looking at the new material, instead of looking at the same images over again.
Caid uses a hash value for each picture which means that detectives will be able to plug seized hard drives into the system so they can be scanned and their contents similarly encoded to see if the resulting signatures match.
The system should be able to identify known images, classify the content, and flag up those never seen before within minutes.
Caid will also be able to use GPS data from photographs to pinpoint where they were taken.
However a similar system, called Childbase, was launched in 2003 by Ceop and the Home Office. It contained seven million images and used facial-recognition software. It was rolled out to police forces across the UK, but in 2011 it was switched off because of a lack of trained officers.