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Internet: Children

Volume 716: debated on Monday 11 January 2010


My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Crime Reduction (Alan Campbell) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Further to my Written Answer (Official Report, House of Commons, 16 December 2009, col. 1392W), the Home Office is today publishing Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre: The Way Forward as Command Paper Cm 7785, which sets out the Government’s proposals for the creation of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) as a non-departmental public body. Copies will be placed in the Vote Office.

The Government set up CEOP in 2006 with the remit of protecting children online and to help tackle child sexual offenders. This was seen as a new area of threat to children, and the centre was created to ensure that there was a law enforcement unit capable of responding to these threats. CEOP is currently affiliated to SOCA and, as such, has had operational independence.

Since its inception, CEOP has been a remarkable success. It has rescued over 500 children, and has led to the arrest of a significant number of people seeking to harm them. It has also developed the leading UK child internet safety website, “Think U Know”, complemented by a comprehensive education programme in schools.

Having considered the work of the centre, and the ongoing online and offline threats to children, we believe that the centre should now become an NDPB. This will allow CEOP to further develop its work to protect children including tackling the issue of missing children, and to be able to have the powers to ensure that it is able to continue to protect children.

The Government are publishing these proposals today, and will bring forward the necessary legislation in the next Parliament.