2nd year results from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre – the UK’s dedicated organisation for tackling the sexual abuse of children – show the battle against child sex offenders continues to gather pace.
131 children have been safeguarded from sexual abuse either directly or indirectly as the result of CEOP activity – of which 18 have been identified through the examination of child abuse images.
297 arrests have been made as a result of CEOP activity.
6 organised paedophile rings have been dismantled or disrupted as a result of CEOP activity.
Since its launch, the Thinkuknow education programme has reached 1.7 million children and young people between the ages of 8 and 16 years across all parts of the UK.
A full copy of the CEOP Centre’s Annual Review 2007/08 and 2nd year figures is available at http://www.ceop.gov.uk/downloads/documents/ceopannualreview2008.pdf
The CEOP Centre was set up in 2006 to deliver a national policing focus that would track some of the UK’s highest risk sex offenders, provide services across the wider child protection community and deliver a holistic and inclusive response that would get to the heart of the crime.
That focus has led to the safeguarding of 131 children and the arrest of 297 suspected offenders during the last twelve months, with the arrest figures alone being a three-fold increase on the organisation’s first year results.
During the last year the organisation has processed almost 1 million images of child sex abuse – using each unique image to help either build up intelligence, track and bring offenders to account, or as vital parts of an investigative jigsaw leading to 18 young victims being identified from this area of work alone.
And offenders have been targeted not only individually, but also where they have formed intricate paedophile networks with 6 such groups infiltrated and dismantled throughout the year – all with international footprints.
Reports from both the child protection community within the widest sense and members of the public – through the CEOP Centre’s unique report abuse virtual environment – continue on an upward trend with a total of 5,812 reports received and activated during the past year – a 76% increase on the monthly average from 2006/07.
But tracking and bringing offenders to account is only part of the CEOP operation. The past twelve months has also seen extensions to the organisation’s “safety first” education programme – Thinkuknow. This programme provides a dedicated array of education materials that have now reached over 1.7 million UK children and which have been delivered by 11,000 specially trained professionals – from teachers through to carers and boosted by new services for parents.
2007/08 also saw:
* 21 operational deployments by the CEOP teams each run in conjunction with local and, in some cases, international forces
* 25 of the UK’s highest risk offenders located as a direct result of CEOP activity of which 10 were located after their details were posted on ceop.gov.uk/wanted
* 2600 law enforcement and child protection professionals attending CEOP training courses either in the UK or overseas
* Significant developments in tackling the sexual abuse of children including the UK’s first dedicated Behavioural Analysis Unit, the launch of the CEOP Academy for child protection professionals and the setting up of a strategic focus for tackling the trafficking of children in and out of Britain.
Launching the 2nd year figures, Jim Gamble, Chief Executive of the CEOP Centre and ACPO lead for child protection commented:
“I hope offenders look hard at these figures because they show not just how we at CEOP are working, but are the culmination of just how far law enforcement and the child protection community has come. They are the results of truly collaborative action. By us all working together 131 children are now safeguarded from some of the worst abuse imaginable – that is true impact.
“So I hope offenders take note. Look at the ways in which together we are infiltrating your worlds, understanding your minds in order to limit deviant behaviour and I hope you think again. If you are abusing children then we, through applying collaborative skills, working with local and international forces, harnessing the commitment from all sectors, will track you down.
“These results are really a testimony to the many child protection teams, local and international forces, educational establishments, government departments, parts of the online community and the wider industry sector who have all, during the past 12 months, stepped up to the plate to help us in saying enough is enough.
“Now we accelerate on. I want to see more work to convince online operators to demonstrate their commitment to child safety in a clear and unambiguous way. I want to see all organisations driving towards one programme of advice and guidance for young people and their families and I want to see more international co-operation. Our children deserve that.”
Vernon Coaker is the Home Office Minister overseeing the work of the CEOP Centre within government and commented:
“With the creation of the CEOP Centre we made a promise to make the fight against the sexual abuse of children a high priority and to provide a national focus for this crime. We also said that economy of scale and a partnership approach had to be the answer. Two years on the concept is proven.
“It is delivering the kind of expertise and services that will keep investigating officers ahead of the game, it is our primary focus for outreach “safety first” activity and CEOP is where it should be – at the hub for industry, government, policing and child protection when it comes to keeping our children safe from the worst crime imaginable.”
Ken Jones, President of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) commented:
“We have seen great successes in tackling child sex abuse during the year – major crackdowns on international networks that send a clear message to offenders everywhere that this crime will not be tolerated. Those successes are down to joint working and effective alliances. I call on all forces to continue what clearly is the right way forward – to draw on the bedrock of knowledge that sits in the CEOP Centre so that through their co-ordinated power we can step across boundaries and borders and track offenders wherever they may be.”