Record number of children rescued from abuse

A record number of children have been rescued from paedophiles prowling the internet for the fifth consecutive year, a specialist police unit said today.

More than 1,000 children have been safeguarded or protected, including 414 in the last 12 months alone, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre (Ceop) said.

It comes as the agency's figures show it has dismantled more than 394 high-risk sex offender networks since it was set up in 2006 tasked with tracking online paedophiles and bringing them to court.

Of these, a record 132 networks have been dismantled in the last year as the unit's actions also led to a record 513 arrests, taking the total number of suspected paedophiles it has helped arrest in the last five years to 1,644.

But Peter Davies, Ceop's chief executive, warned the battle was far from over.

"Crimes against children are for me the most horrendous crimes and too many times the victim suffers in silence," he said.

"We need to encourage ever more reporting and understanding, we need to work to prevent the crime happening in the first place and we need to pursue the offender no matter how complex the methods they use to hide their activity."

Ceop, which is currently affiliated to the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca), will be merged with the new National Crime Agency when it is formed in 2013.

The move prompted the resignation of its former head Jim Gamble over concerns the shake-up was driven not by child protection but by a desire to cut the number of quangos.

But, as well as retaining its own budget, Mr Davies said the unit will also keep "its own brand, its own approach and its own dedication to putting the safety and well-being of children first".

"I think today's figures show that we are shining light in to those dark places, we are bringing this crime more into the open and are working collectively with many others to break down the taboos and obstacles that stop children getting the help and support they need," he said.

"We can do that with confidence."

In her foreword to the report, Home Secretary Theresa May added that the move will enable Ceop to "draw on wider resources and support to help keep even more children safe from harm in the future".

The unit's annual review also sets out plans to "address the self-generated risk that children place themselves in, understanding and working in partnership to safeguard technological advances and focusing on specialist areas such as the trafficking of children and young people", a Ceop spokesman said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee