Minister plans to pilot online platform in fight against sexual predators

International development secretary Penny Mordaunt is expected to announce the scheme at a meeting with aid organisations in London tomorrow

Penny Mordaunt (Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg/Getty Images)
Penny Mordaunt (Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

The Department for International Development is planning to pilot an online platform designed to help prevent sexual predators finding work in the aid sector.

Penny Mordaunt, the international development secretary, is expected to announce the £10m scheme at a safeguarding meeting with aid organisations in London tomorrow.

The government believes the project will help to prevent abuse in the sector by stopping high-risk people from being hired and increasing the chances of perpetrators being arrested.

DfID, which is expected to put £2m towards the scheme, is understood to be working with Interpol and the Association of Chief Police Officers’ Criminal Records Office to develop the new project, named Soteria after the Greek goddess of protection.

The scheme, which is expected to begin operating early next year, is likely to consist of an online platform of criminal records across the global aid sector and a small team of specialists and investigators operating out of two regional hubs in Africa and Asia to provide support to criminal bureaux in high-risk countries.

It will also provide operational support for investigations around the world.

The five-year project will include an initial one-year phase that will be focused on testing the online platform, building on existing Interpol systems.

It is understood that aid charities will be able to submit a request for checks on prospective employees against national criminal records and Interpol criminal databases.

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