Express & Star

Forensics company delighted by King's Award

A Stafford digital forensics business that has developed cutting-edge AI-powered software that is helping find child victims of sexual abuse is celebrating its King's Award for Enterprise.

Professor Claude Chibelushi, left, and Dr Liam Owens

Semantics 21 was recognised for innovation.

The award is expected to be presented by Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire Ian Dudson later this month.

Chief executive Dr Liam Owens, a UK expert who has been called upon by the House of Lords for advice on AI in policing, and automated decision-making in digital forensics, said: “I’m proud to work alongside the most dedicated and passionate team in digital forensics and we’re thrilled to receive this award, which is an incredible honour, from the King.

“Our UK and international team of experts in their respective areas, have one common goal: rescuing victims. ​They give their all (and more), to ensure that police entities have access to the very best tools and support, enabling forces to do what they do best, protect the public and save children from sexual exploitation.”​

Dr Owens added: “It’s not about money, shares or profits. We are driven by supporting law enforcement in rescuing children from sexual exploitation, eliminating case backlogs and protecting investigator mental wellbeing.

“We are truly giving back and making the world a safer place for current and future generations while providing an unrivalled service, and ensuring our innovations are affordable and accessible to all law enforcement, even those with limited or no budgets.” ​

S21's tool set boosts investigators’ success in finding and rescuing child sexual abuse victims.

The company, which is marking its ninth anniversary in Stafford, previously won the same innovation award from the late Queen.

Since then it has continued to develop and introduce new tools to generate even more actionable insights for investigators to identify and locate victims even quicker.

Professor Claude Chibelushi, the director of research and development, said: “Our company culture and ethos is underpinned by a single belief, shared by our team and community: Every Victim Matters.​

“We are proud to be making significant inroads towards addressing a statistic released by the Cabinet Office and the NSPCC, in their #stopabusetogether campaign on social media, which revealed that at least one in 10 children experience sexual abuse before they turn 16."

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