International award for police detective who pioneered child protection tool


The Head of Kent Police’s Child Exploitation Investigation Team, who received his PhD from the University of Liverpool, has been honoured by the International Association of Chiefs of Police for developing an online child protection tool.

Detective Chief Inspector Matthew Long was presented with the ‘excellence in law enforcement research’ award at a ceremony in the US.

The Kent Internet Risk Assessment Tool (KIRAT) was developed with forensic psychologist, Professor Laurence Alison.  It is used by police forces to assess the level of risk posed by people who view indecent images of children online of becoming ‘contact offenders’ who commit sexual offences against children.

DCI Long said: “The pain and suffering that this type of offending causes cannot be underestimated and this award highlights the importance of our work in protecting children from harm and the commitment of the police worldwide to identify offenders and putting them in prison.”

Professor Alison, who leads the research team in the Institute of Psychology, Health and Society, that helped develop KIRAT, added: “It is rewarding to see our research playing a valuable role in safeguarding children every day by helping the police track and bring offenders to account quickly.”

KIRAT is part of an EU-funded Fighting International Internet Paedophilia (FIIP) project that focuses on targeting offenders and developing victim identification. The three year project is led by Kent Police and the University of Liverpool as well as partners including Dublin and Barcelona universities, and police forces in Estonia, Spain and the Netherlands.

Professor Alison has also been awarded a special commendation by Kent Chief Constable Ian Learmonth for the contribution his research is making to child protection.

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