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The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), formed in April 2006, is a UK cross agency and cross business department of the Serious Organised Crime Agency, which is tasked to work both nationally and internationally to bring online child sex offenders, including those involved in the production, distribution and viewing of child pornography, to the UK courts.[1]

However, the credibility of the agency and the safety of a number of convictions is now under question following reports that police had “serious doubts” about the quality of evidence that led to many of the convictions. Indeed, ITV News reports uncovering an email from one detective involved in the manhunt who wrote: “I have serious doubts about the quality and integrity of the evidence supplied by the National Crime Squad". “I strongly advise to hold back on any further action until further notice.” [2]

Purpose and operations

Working across the UK and maximising international links, CEOP delivers what is termed a "holistic" approach that combines police powers with the dedicated expertise of business sectors, government, specialist charities and other interested organisations – all focused on censoring the internet.


CEOP is made up of police officers with specialist experience of tracking and prosecuting sex offenders working with dedicated professionals from organisations including the NSPCC and Childnet, Microsoft and AOL. Partnerships have been set up across non-government bodies, including: NCH, NSPCC, Barnardos; business (Microsoft, AOL, Serco, Vodafone etc) and UK Government departments (Children, Schools and Families; Home Office; Foreign and Commonwealth Office etc). CEOP works with organisations such as The Scout Association , the Football Association, the England and Wales Cricket Board, British Telecom, and Lycos to widen the scope of safeguarding the online environment.

Global Work

The CEOP Centre is also an instrumental and fundamental partner in an international law enforcement alliance – the Virtual Global Taskforce. This was set up in 2004 and provides an international alliance of law enforcement agencies across Australia, the USA and Canada as well as Interpol in bringing a global policing response to tackling artistic photography and cartoons.


The centre is split into three faculties; Intelligence, Harm Reduction and Operations, each one plays a key role in the centre's work, and they are all supported by teams covering governance, communications, partnerships and corporate services. The intelligence faculty receive intelligence of online and offline offenders, all reports made through the centre's website, and are dealt with immediately at any time of day to ensure that law enforcement can take positive action. The Harm Reduction faculty manage Public Awareness campaigns and educational programmes, including the award winning ThinkUKnow education programme, which is currently being used in schools throughout the UK. The Operations Faculty aims to tackle both the abuser and those who exploit and abuse children for financial gain.


Main article: Jim Gamble

Jim Gamble is Chief Executive of CEOP. A senior police officer of 25 years, he was head of the Northern Ireland anti-terrorist intelligence unit in Belfast, then most recently tackled organised crime as the Deputy Director of the National Crime Squad. In March 2010 Gamble called for a "panic button" - for the public to report suspected paedophiles - to be installed on the main profile page of every Facebook user. [3]


CEOP gained its first successful prosectution in June 2006, when Lee Costi, 21, of Haslemere, Surrey, was sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court where he admitted grooming schoolgirls for sex. Costi was caught when a Nottingham girl told her mother about his chatroom messages.[4]

Following this, in June 2007, Timothy Cox was jailed at a court in Buxhall, Suffolk, following a 10-month operation by CEOP Officers, as well as other Virtual Global Taskforce Members, leading to 700 new suspects being followed up by law enforcement agencies around the world.[5]

See also


External links

Video clips

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