Protection Agency Saves 76 Children From Abuse

Ten children have been rescued over the past year after being traced through clues in online pictures of them being abused, police said. A further 66 children in the UK have been saved from abuse or the direct threat of it thanks to the work of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP).

Many of the children were identified by their faces which were matched to a electronic database of those at risk or through clues in the images themselves. The startling successes were revealed in the first annual report by CEOP, an agency set up to protect children from abuse both online and elsewhere.

Jim Gamble, head of the CEOP, said his officers are dealing with 3,000 cases of child abuse. But speaking about the rescued children, he said: “These are 76 reasons why this is the best job I have ever had.” Mr Gamble said the world is becoming increasingly hostile to child sex offenders and they are finding using the internet harder and harder.

He said: “Our suspect pool is focused on those individuals who go online and operate at the top level, who are trying to engage and lure children. They are involved in paedophile rings who share information about where you can access a child in the real world.”

Mr Gamble said CEOP has received 2,500 reports of suspected child abuse activity online since its launch in April 2006. Half of those reports were made by children aged under 18, with parents also contacting the agency on many occasions.