The number of suspected paedophiles arrested by a specialist child sex abuse unit tripled to nearly 300 in its second year. The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) also infiltrated and broke up six paedophile rings in the last year.
Officers rescued 131 child victims from abuse, identifying 18 of those through analysis of nearly a million images of abuse. Announcing the results, chief executive Jim Gamble warned paedophiles that the net was tightening.
“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,” he said.
Gamble said the results were the outcome of “truly collaborative action” between child protection teams, educational establishments, parts of the online community and the police.
Carers were among the 11,000 professionals who helped deliver CEOP’s ‘Thinkuknow’ programme, which reached 1.7m children, advising them how to stay safe online, while 2,600 social workers and police officers received training.
Increased email reporting
An online tool allowing parents, professionals and children and young people to report abuse received more than 5,800 reports in the last year, a 76% increase on 2006-07.
Since forming in 2006, CEOP has forged partnerships with local and international police forces, and with experts from organisations such as the government and the NSPCC to devise policing and awareness-raising strategies and track down offenders.