Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre

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Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command
Abbreviation CEOP
Logo of CEOP
Agency overview
Formed 24 April, 2006
Preceding agency Paedophile Online Investigation Team
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
National agency United Kingdom
Map of the National Crime Agency's jurisdiction.svg
CEOP's jurisdiction
Size 94,526 sq mi (244,820 km2)
Population 60,000,000
General nature
Operational structure
Sworn members 120 (approx.)
Elected officer responsible Theresa May, Home Secretary
Agency executive Johnny Gwynne, Director
Parent agency National Crime Agency

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command (CEOP; formerly the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre) is a command of the UK's National Crime Agency (NCA),[1] and is tasked to work both nationally and internationally to bring online child sex offenders, including those involved in the production, distribution and viewing of child abuse material, to the UK courts.[2] The centre was formed in April 2006, and was absorbed into the NCA on 7 October 2013 by the Crime and Courts Act 2013.

Purpose and operations[edit]

CEOP combines police powers with expertise from the business sector, government, specialist charities and other interested organisations.


CEOP is made up of police officers with specialist experience of tracking and prosecuting sex offenders, working with people from organisations including the NSPCC and Childnet, Microsoft and AOL. Partnerships have been set up across non-government bodies, including: Action for Children, NSPCC, Barnardos; business (Microsoft, AOL, Serco, Vodafone etc.) and UK Government departments (Department for Education; Home Office; Foreign and Commonwealth Office etc.). CEOP works with organisations such as The Scout Association, the Football Association, the England and Wales Cricket Board, BT, and Lycos to widen the scope of its work.[citation needed]


The CEOP's Home Office funding was frozen in 2010 and reduced by 10% over the subsequent three years. Staff numbers were increased during this period according to the CEOP, though former employees dispute this.[3] In 2012–13 the budget was £6 million[4] and there were 109 posts, which included 13 seconded police officers.[5] Additional money and resources came from the NSPCC, Google, Microsoft and BAE Systems Detica.[6]

Global work[edit]

The CEOP Centre is also a partner in an international law enforcement alliance – the Virtual Global Taskforce. This was set up in 2004 and provides an international alliance of law enforcement agencies across Australia, the US and Canada as well as Interpol in bringing a global policing response to censoring the Internet.


The centre is split into three faculties; Intelligence, Harm Reduction and Operations. Each faculty is supported by teams covering governance, communications, partnerships and corporate services. The intelligence faculty receive intelligence of online and offline offenders; all reports made through the centre's website, and ThinkUKnow are dealt with at any time of day so that law enforcement action can be taken. The Harm Reduction faculty manage Public Awareness campaigns and educational programmes, including the ThinkUKnow education programme, which is currently being used in UK schools. The Operations Faculty aims to tackle both abusers and those who exploit children for financial gain.[citation needed] Web browser integration is available via a CEOP browser extension for Firefox,[7] Google Chrome[8] and a customised Internet Explorer.[9]


Johnny Gwynne is the Director of NCA-CEOP. Before joining the NCA Johnny was a serving Chief Officer with Police Scotland and had previously been Deputy Director General of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency. He was seconded to the NCA in June 2013 and was Deputy Director of the Organised Crime Command before competing for and being appointed to the role of Director of the CEOP Command.

Previous heads of CEOP include Jim Gamble and Peter Davies.


CEOP gained its first successful prosectution in June 2006, when Lee Costi, 21, of Haslemere, Surrey, was sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court where he admitted grooming schoolgirls for sex. Costi was caught when a Nottingham girl told her mother about his chatroom messages.[10]

Following this, in June 2007, Timothy Cox was jailed at a court in Buxhall, Suffolk, following a 10-month operation by CEOP Officers, as well as other Virtual Global Taskforce Members, leading to 700 new suspects being followed up by law enforcement agencies around the world.[11]

The CEOP claims to have disrupted or dismantled 262 sex-offender networks between 2006 and 2010, and it says inquiries by its online investigators have led to more than 1,000 arrests during that period.[12]

Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation[edit]

In September 2015, gross misconduct notices were served on four police officers who had held management roles in CEOP. The actions were part of an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation into a 16-month delay in passing on information about 2,345 British child abuse suspects which had been received in 2012 from the Toronto Police Service. A spokesman for the IPCC said: "Two of the officers have retired since the incident, one officer remains at the [National Crime Agency] NCA and one officer who was on secondment from Lincolnshire Police has since returned there. All four notices are for failing to adequately progress and manage the referral by Toronto Police from Project Spade. The investigation remains ongoing." The information received from Canada included details about doctor Myles Bradbury, who was subsequently jailed for 22 years for sexual assaults on 18 child patients at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, and Martin Goldberg, the deputy head of Thorpe Hall School in Southend, who was found dead the day after he was interviewed by police about images of children undressing in changing rooms which had been found in his possession.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ About CEOP, CEOP Command. Retrieved 15 November 2015.
  2. ^ Launch of Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, 24/04/06, W/E – CIW
  3. ^ Barry Collins (23 July 2013). "PM's child-abuse police figures are wrong, says ex-CEOP chief". PC Pro. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  4. ^ Ian Steadman (12 December 2013). "If David Cameron wants to police the "dark web" he should realise that Google is irrelevant". New Statesman. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  5. ^ "Annual Review 2011–12 & Centre Plan 2012–13" (PDF). CEOP. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  6. ^ "Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre". Open Rights Group. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  7. ^ "CEOP Toolbar Button". Mozilla. 20 July 2010. Retrieved 16 May 2012. 
  8. ^ CEOP’s internet safety advice CEOP. Wednesday, Date 19 May 2010 Accessed 16 May 2012
  9. ^ George Wong (7 February 2012). "CEOP-customized Internet Explorer 9 now available". Ubergizmo. Retrieved 16 May 2012. 
  10. ^ "Web paedophile given nine years". BBC News. 22 June 2006. 
  11. ^ Latest news – CEOP
  12. ^ Robert Booth (5 October 2010). "Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre row deepens". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  13. ^ Chidzoy, Sally (4 September 2015). "Myles Bradbury: Misconduct notices served on four police officers". BBC News. Retrieved 4 September 2015. 

External links[edit]