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2006 International Law Enforcement Cybercrime Award
Announcement of Award Winner

The Society For The Policing Of Cyberspace (POLCYB), ispleased to announce the the winner of the 2006 International Law Enforcement Cybercrime Award:

PROJECT NAME:   "ThinkuKnow"
AGENCY:  Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre

(Excerpt from winning submission)

Open Abstract from Jim Gamble, Chief Executive, Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre

Child sex abuse is the most horrific crime affecting victims during their most formative years and in many cases leaving a life long impact. We need to say enough is enough and we must tackle this crime in a way that is both holistic and restricts and dismantles every opportunity open to the offender.

Tracking and bringing perpetrators to account is one way and here in the UK, within the new Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre, we are working with partners from both industry and child protection charities to maximise our operational deployments.

But prosecuting offenders is only part of the answer. We must also limit the supply of children who are unaware of the dangers and open to exploitation. To do that we must learn one vital lesson – the virtual world and the real world are now as one for children of all ages. Look at how children use the internet to communicate with their peers, consider the many new services coming on line all the time now being used by young people and think about how little we as adults actually know about what our children are doing online.

How can I say this with any authority? Simple! For a start I am simply repeating to you what our 60 strong UK wide youth panel are telling us at the CEOP Centre. When we sit with them it is clear just how much the internet is integral to their lives. It is obvious how much they rely on the internet to talk with their friends, build up networks and share their materials.

What we are saying to children throughout the UK through our education campaign – ThinkuKnow – is use the internet to have fun. Use the internet to learn, to talk with your friends, to explore opportunities that otherwise would not be open to you. But do this with caution and remember that the internet is just another public place, another park, street corner or playground and therefore have fun with the same safeguards as you would in the real world.

Secondly we are saying stay in control when you are online. Remember that people can assume many identities on line, consider how people will want to be your mate whereas in reality they may want to be more than just friends, and be alert to the dangers. Those are hard messages to deliver but provide them we must and our youth panel have been very instrumental in working with us to devise ways of doing exactly that.

Finally though what happens if you are online, aware of the dangers and are approached. That is where ThinkuKnow really gets its teeth because for the first time we are going out to children and introducing a new virtual police presence – through our “report abuse” button.

We are saying to each and every one of them that if in any way they feel in danger then go to www.thinkuknow.net and click on the reporting mechanism. There we will work with them in collecting vital first steps evidence and beginning that all important investigation - just as we would if anyone walked into a police station in any town or city. What is more by linking with international jurisdictions especially partners in Canada, US, Australia and Interpol we are providing children with access to a 24/7, international police presence that recognises and matches the global nature of the internet.

Does it work? Well already here in the UK we have a serious child sex offender serving a lengthy prison sentence following an investigation started by a young person making an online report to us.

So I am delighted that this work is now getting international recognition as winner of the International Law Enforcement Cybercrime award. That is excellent and very welcome news and to my mind should stand alongside the many partnerships we are now looking to enhance as we work to get to the very heart of tackling child sex abuse and making every child matter … everywhere.

Jim Gamble Chief Executive Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre

For further information on the work of the CEOP Centre ...

For specific advice to stay safe online ...

For details on the international work of the CEOP Centre ...

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