Child protection agency hails child protection record

Ceop safeguarded 790 children in 2012/13, an increase of 85% on previous year

A record number of children have been protected from sexual abusers in the past year, according to new figures.

The UK's leading child protection agency safeguarded 790 children in 2012/13, an increase of 85 per cent on the previous year.

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop) received 18,887 reports of abuse in the past 12 months, which was 14 per cent more than the year before.

The organisation has warned that the growing availability of high-speed internet around the globe is likely to increase the threat to children.

Ceop chief executive Peter Davies said: "This past year has not only seen increases in the number of reports to the centre from the public and industry, but also a large increase in the number of children Ceop has been able to protect and safeguard from some of the worst offenders who seek to exploit our children.

"We have also provided thousands of intelligence packages to police forces and children's services, and have reached millions of children with our educational programme teaching them how to be safe.

"Despite our successes, we aren't complacent. We recognise that the world is constantly changing and offenders will continue to seek new ways to abuse children, which is why our work with partners around the globe is constantly evolving to ensure we're always one step ahead of abusers."

Ceop has outlined a number of key threat areas where it will focus its activity as it moves into the new National Crime Agency.

They include the proliferation of indecent images of children, the systematic sexual exploitation of multiple child victims on the internet and organised crime-related child abuse.

Mr Davies said: "The centre continues to prove its place on a global platform as one of the leading child sexual abuse law enforcement agencies and, through our commitment to prevent abuse, protect children and pursue offenders, the UK's children are safer because of its vital work.

"Moving into the National Crime Agency as one of the four commands, the centre will play a pivotal role in sharing our expertise in protecting children.

"The agency will also be able to use specialist resources and knowledge to ensure that children are even safer in the future - not just here in the UK, but also abroad working with our international partners."