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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.

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Class sizes grow to keep up with GCSE results

  • Colleges in England say they are having to expand class sizes and hire exam halls to cope with the increased number of pupils taking compulsory GCSE resits.
  • According to the Association of Colleges (AoC), an extra 60,000 students prepare to resit English and maths.
  • Changes to grading this year meant that GCSE passes in England, Wales and NI fell this year with 68.2% of all entries marked at grades 4/C and above.
  • Additionally, the pass rates for resits is low – 16.4% of people aged 17 and over taking their maths GCSE resit passed, compared with 25.9% of those taking English.
  • The government has announced a further £150 million per year over the next two years to help colleges with students taking resits and laid out plans for the Advanced British Standard – a new qualification that would include some England and maths to 18.
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.

Children in Sussex and Surrey housed illegally amid care shortage

  • A BBC investigation has found that children in care in Surrey and Sussex are being housed in illegal homes amid a severe shortage of placements.
  • From March 2022 to 2023, 49 children under the age of 16 were placed into housing which was not approved by Ofsted and banned by the government in 2021.
  • Freedom of information requests (FOIs) also revealed councils used unregulated accommodation on 81 occasions.
  • Katharine Sacks-Jones, chief executive of Become, a charity for children in care reported that the accommodation was not appropriate for children, particularly those who have experienced significant trauma.
  • The Department for Education (DfE), which has overall responsibility for looked after children in England, stated it was “investing more than £259m over the next three years to increase the places available locally”.
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.