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Operational Policing

Child Protection

Read about the Home Secretary’s Taskforce on Online Child Protection and the Child Exploitation Online Protection (CEOP) Centre.

The Internet Taskforce for Child Protection on the Internet aims to make the UK the best and safest place in the world for children to use the internet. It also helps protect children the world over from abuse fuelled by criminal misuse of new technologies.

The Taskforce brings together government, law enforcement, children’s agencies and the internet industry, who are all working to ensure that children can use the internet in safety.

Social Networking Guidance

The first UK Social Networking Guidance was published in April 2008 and provides advice for industry, parents and children about how to stay safe online. This has been developed by a taskforce of representatives from industry, charity and law enforcement agencies including Vodafone, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC).

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said, 'I want to see every child living their lives free from fear, whether they are meeting friends in a youth club or in a chat room.

'We have some of the strictest controls on sex offenders in the world to protect our children. We are working together with police, industry and charities to create a hostile environment for sex offenders on the internet and are determined to make it as hard for predators to strike online, as in the real world.' 

Other guidance created to help keep children safe on the internet includes:

Current work of the Taskforce

Blocking child abuse images

  • The Taskforce has set the end of 2007 as a target for all UK Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to have implement a system to block URLs containing child abuse images as identified by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) (new window) 

Publicly Available Standard 

  • The Home Office, OFCOM, and the British Standards Institute are currently working on developing a Publicly Available Standard (PAS), against which rating, filtering and monitoring software products can be tested and a kite mark awarded.


The Taskforce was established in March 2001, in response to a report by the Internet Crime Forum.

The report made several recommendations for protecting children on the internet, including:

  • improved supervision of chat rooms
  • better display of safety messages

The Taskforce is currently chaired by Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker.

Meeting summaries

Click on the links below to read summary notes from the meetings held by the Home Secretary's Task Force on Child Protection on the Internet:

Child Exploitation Online Protection (CEOP) centre

Since its creation in 2006, the CEOP centre has had considerable success in protecting children. They provide a single point of contact for the public, law enforcers, and the communications industry to report targeting of children online. Not only do they offer advice and information to parents and potential victims of abuse, 24 hours a day, they also carry out proactive investigations and work with police forces around the world to protect children. On 21 April, the CEOP published their second annual review 2007-2008 (new window).

Please visit the Child Exploitation Online Protection Centre (new window) for more information.  

The CEOP have also developed the thinkyouknow website (new window), which gives advice and tips to young people on how to stay safe online.

The CEOP are part of the Virtual Global Taskforce (new window), which enables law enforcement from around the world to coordinate intelligence and track offenders across borders.

Home Office websites