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Project Spade

Volume 571: debated on Monday 2 December 2013

In July 2012, prior to its incorporation into the National Crime Agency, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre received information via Interpol from Toronto police as part of Project Spade. The NCA CEOP command has now undertaken additional assessment of the data provided, and information was provided to police forces on 26 November. Investigations in the UK are therefore ongoing. Being part of the NCA brings advantages for CEOP, including the ability to draw on specialist skills, resources and the international network.

The Prime Minister and Home Secretary talk often about the need to combat child abuse images, and keep asking for more powers. We now know that when excellent police work happens in Canada, which released 386 young children, and 2,345 specific suspects are passed on to CEOP and the British police, the British police do nothing for 18 months. Does the Minister agree it is important for the police to get the basics right, not to keep asking for more powers?

That is precisely why CEOP has been moved to the National Crime Agency. Since its launch, the NCA can already demonstrate operational success in tackling child exploitation. As part of a recent operation by the NCA, which has been up and running for only a couple of months, 25 individuals were arrested on suspicion of involvement in the distribution of indecent images of children. The move to the NCA has made CEOP even more effective than it was in the past.