In an entertaining talk Jim Gamble said that the people attending the conference had the chance to shape public policy and opinion on crucial issues relating to child welfare and the internet and they should seize that opportunity.
Jim Gamble emphasised that “talk is cheap” and that the mark of a professional was to be able to know where there was a deficit in knowledge, tackle that and take decisions in the best interests of clients rather than to serve group or political needs. Many agencies, the police included, were often not very good at admitting mistakes and having the courage to put things right.
Jim Gamble characterised the internet, “perhaps the greatest gift we have ever received”, as being essentially neutral but defined by the people in it. And in any reasonably large gathering of people there will be those whose motives are not positive and whose actions are not benign.
Jim Gamble praised social network companies for coming on “leaps and bounds”. Indeed said that the best reporting system the police could use for suspicious behaviour was Google+ because it did not require lengthy case conferences before the dots were joined and action was taken. The speed at which dangerous people acted outstripped these bureaucratic processes.
However he took issue with some of the statistics and views given earlier by Facebook and Google because he said the benefit of the doubt had to be protecting young people. A ‘burglar alarm’ on social networking sites was a vital deterrent because there were very real dangers that young people faced.
He concluded by saying: “It is important for those still in the field not to talk but to act, as talk is cheap but action can make a difference.”
Jim Gamble is the former head of CEOP.