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BAE Systems Pilots Tech to Support Child Protection Agencies

BAE Systems has announced details of a technology pilot aimed at supporting child protection agencies. The initial project, run in partnership with Gloucestershire Constabulary Police Force, seeks to improve speed and accuracy for identifying potentially vulnerable children.

BAE Systems has adapted technology normally used to protect and safeguard businesses against fraudulent activity, to quickly and accurately bring together data relating to an individual and reveal the full picture of a vulnerable child’s reported issues.

As well as creating a faster, more efficient process for identifying and sharing key indicators of potentially harmful situations, it also allowed child protection practitioners to delve into more incidents, in more detail and implement urgent care plans where needed. The successful pilot achieved results 10-times faster than under existing processes, solving the challenge of sharing data, linking it together, analysing it and identifying what further investigation is required.

Ravi Gogna, principal consultant at BAE Systems Applied Intelligence, said: “After the tragic case of Baby P, we identified the need to overcome the data problem and adapted our existing technology and data science techniques, which helps banks and insurers tackle fraud, to amalgamate key historic pieces of data across agencies. This provided child protection officers with access to a more in-depth and comprehensive data profile of each child in the quickest possible time.”

The challenge is that we are looking for red flag events – such as a child self-harming or coming into A&E with multiple broken bones, she added. “We have an opportunity to help improve the way the child protection system identifies risk, by bringing together all the information about a child and quickly giving a holistic view of what is happening.”

The UK’s current system makes use of Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hubs (MASHs), which aim to provide a single point of contact for all safeguarding concerns regarding children and young people. 

However, the NSPCC currently estimates that one in 10 children in the UK has suffered some form of abuse or neglect, and the figure continues to grow. With resources continually stretched due to the ever-rising number of cases of neglect in Britain, the current manual processes are becoming strained, with the potential to miss vulnerable children.

“The pilot proves that, with increased information, we have a greater chance of intervening early and preventing catastrophic events from happening down the line,” said Kath Davis, head of the Child Protection Unit, Gloucestershire Constabulary. “To work with people from a completely different sector sheds a whole new light on things. Things that we thought were impossible, became possible.” 

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