The provincial government is investing $800,000 to hire new technical experts for the RCMP’s internet protection unit as a part of a series of measures to beef up child internet safety.
Public Safety Minister Robert Trevors announced six new investigators and two new technical experts for the RCMP's internet child exploitation (ICE) unit on Thursday.
The new positions will double the existing staff of the unit that's fighting one of the fastest growing crimes in the country.
The unit, which scours the internet to track down child pornography and child predators, will have members in Fredericton, Moncton and Saint John and will include members from the RCMP as well as regional and municipal police forces.
"Our children are online, using home computers and other devices that connect them to all the knowledge in the world," Trevors said in a statement.
"We know this provides tremendous opportunities, but it also exposes them to potential dangers. Making sure children are safe online is a priority of this government."
The new staff will undergo extensive training and screening, said Insp. Kevin Leahy, of the ICE unit.
"We make sure that the work they are doing isn’t impacting their well being. We do ongoing checks," he said.
"They are passionate employees that, you know, go above and beyond every day to help us get the results we have been getting."
Adding internet safety to school curriculum
The New Brunswick government's funding will also be used to broaden a public awareness campaign in the fall to educate young people on how to stay safe while they are online.
The campaign is also intended to help parents keep their children safe from online abuse.
Education Minister Jody Carr said internet safety will be part of school curriculum in the future.
"It's not just an add-on, as a flyer that goes in the mail," he said.
"This going to be part of a real discussion of internet use of cyberbullying as well as cyberprotection as well."