The Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre (CEOP) has today clarified its role in leading and co-ordinating efforts to find missing children.
In January, Community Care reported that CEOP had been given national responsibility for missing children.
The centre will take the lead from 1 July, bringing together the UK’s first ever team of experts dedicated to searching for missing and abducted children. Its role will include training for professionals and children, and support for operations through targeted research and analysis. The centre will also extend the CEOP “one-stop shop” to include missing children resources online and the co-ordination of complex or high-profile missing children cases.
Peter Davies, chief executive of CEOP, said the team would provide a national focus for missing children within the policing community. “We will put into the hands of any investigation our collective specialism to reach rapid and effective conclusions. We will also work to ensure the causes of children going missing are understood and addressed after their return.”
Making the announcement on International Missing Children’s Day, crime and security minister James Brokenshire said: “Around 230,000 missing children reports are made in the UK every year. CEOP’s new responsibility for national missing children’s services means it can bring its child protection expertise to tackle this important issue.”
Lady Catherine Meyer, of the charity Parents & Abducted Children Together (PACT), said: “This is something that PACT has been campaigning for, for nearly a decade. For the first time in the UK there will be a single national centre, bringing together in one place the resources and expertise of government, police, NGOs and the private sector.
“These changes also send a strong message that crimes against children will not go unpunished and that this government takes children’s issues very seriously”.
CEOP is also working on a thematic report about child sexual exploitation in the UK, due to be published next month.
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