Our MD’s Journey to Digital Safety

Barbara Spooner

We are committed to enhancing online safety and mitigating harm for users, and our Managing Director Barbara Spooner MBE, is leading the company to drive forward its mission. In this week’s insights we look at the journey that led her to Digital Safety CIC.

With a career spanning over three decades in specialist operations, technical operations and leading law enforcement commands, nationally and internationally.  Barbara has provided significant contributions to leadership in law enforcement, Barbara brings a wealth of experience to her new role. As head of Digital Safety CIC, Barbara will lead the organisation in its mission to make online activities safer and less harmful to people.

Barbara Spooner’s impressive career has been characterised by her unwavering dedication to the law enforcement profession. Having served across national and international policing environments, as well as being actively involved as a national executive lead for women in policing, Barbara’s expertise and leadership have been widely recognised. In 2014, she was honoured as a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for her outstanding contributions to leadership for women in law enforcement and services to covert intelligence operations. With her extensive experience in specialist and technical operations, senior leadership, programme management, and capability building, Barbara is well-equipped to guide Digital Safety in its mission to tackle the challenges posed by online activities.

Throughout her career, Barbara has consistently demonstrated a commitment to delivering innovative, economical, and efficient solutions for mission success. Her ability to navigate change and set strategic directions has been instrumental to her success. Over two decades or more she moved up the ranks, this anticipated the changes in criminality, and it was apparent to her that technology, for all its great qualities, would be a significant challenge in future. She led a team of 50 professionals responsible for lawfully acquiring communications data to support investigations into serious and organised crime. Barbara’s leadership also saw her restructuring and growing the unit to ensure adherence to agency policies, regulatory inspections, and audit requirements.

As head of Digital Safety, Barbara will leverage her wealth of experience to spearhead efforts in creating a safer online environment. Drawing on her extensive relationships with diverse stakeholders both nationally and internationally, she will drive initiatives to reduce digital harms, enhance capability building and prioritise the development and implementation of innovative programmes. Over her career Barbara was brought into contact with colleagues in the digital and data world. This enabled her to gain a strategic overview of the ever-evolving opportunities and danger of the digital landscape including the impact on people and their lives not always for the good. Early 2019 she retired from policing and was then invited to work with the home office on a pathfinder project around the use of volunteer cyber specialists in UK policing, which would ultimately manifest as Digital Safety.

Digital Safety is committed to developing digital safeguarding practices and skills helping people, organisations and communities stay safe and raise awareness of digital harms. Its ambition is to act as a learning partner by building a network of networks to innovate, train and reimagine how digital safety can work for everyone. Barbara Spooner said: “I am honoured to be the founder of Digital Safety and lead the charge in creating safer online activities for individuals across the globe”. “I am deeply committed to leveraging my experience and expertise to combat harm in the digital realm. Together with the talented team at Digital Safety, I am confident that we will make significant strides in making the internet a safer space for everyone.”