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How we work with the police

We work globally to remove online child sexual abuse images and videos regardless of where they are hosted.

Informing the police of criminal content

When we trace the content as being hosted in a country with an INHOPE hotline, we contact the relevant hotline through our INHOPE membership.

We work directly with the police in countries where there is no INHOPE hotline to speed up the removal of child sexual abuse images and videos.

Working with the relevant police agency allows them to confirm to us if they are already investigating the people behind the images and ultimately to help rescue the children pictured in the images and videos.

European Financial Coalition Membership

European Financial Coalition logo

We are a member of the European Financial Coalition (EFC)  which brings together key organisations from police, the private sector and civil society with the common goal of fighting the commercial sexual exploitation of children online.

Working with UK police

The fact that less than 1% of criminal content is hosted in the UK is partly due to our good working relationships with UK police forces  and agencies.

We share images we find with the National Crime Agency’s CEOP Command so they can do the important task of working to rescue to the child victims in the images and videos.

Mutual training sessions

We take part in two way training sessions with the police, for example regarding image assessment, website tracking, and international tracing techniques. This ensures our procedures and judgements are up-to-date, informed by the most recent case laws, and reflect decisions being made by our police partners. It also means we can share our specific skills with police officers increasingly operating in the criminal online environment.

Here is what some of our police partners say about us:

Photo of Chief Constable Simon Bailey“The abuse and exploitation of children over the internet is an abhorrent crime. The scale and complexity of offending means that this is a problem that law enforcement agencies cannot tackle alone and the support of our partners is vital. The Internet Watch Foundation and policing continue to benefit from a strong working relationship which has enabled us to develop pioneering approaches to reducing the threat to our children. The challenge is significant, but by working together we can protect more children from harm.” 

Chief Constable Simon Bailey, National Policing Lead for Child Protection and Abuse Investigation

Photo of Troels Oerting, Head of EC3, European Cybercrime Centre“IWF is one of the most active and effective European hotlines fighting against child sexual exploitation. The work developed by IWF in the process of notice and takedown, in close cooperation with Law Enforcement, is an example to follow.

“IWF’s contribution to the Strategic Assessment on Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Online, produced by Europol in the frame of the European Financial Coalition against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, has been outstanding. The analytical findings shared by IWF and the work developed through initiatives like the Website Brands Project have been an invaluable source of information for the Law Enforcement community.

“Europol will continue cooperating actively with IWF to achieve our common goals: eradicate the production and dissemination of child abuse material through the internet. The dedication and commitment from the IWF team is outstanding."

Troels Oerting, Former Head of EC3, European Cybercrime Centre

Mick Moran, Assistant Director, Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation, INTERPOL“INTERPOL remains committed to a holistic approach in tackling online child exploitation. Industry, law enforcement, NGOs and of course the public all have a responsibility when it comes to dealing with this societal issue.  

“We are delighted to partner with IWF, INHOPE and other hotlines, in what is proving to be a successful battle - keeping the web clear from those who would profit from the pain of abused children. It is important work, we all have our roles and we must play them together.”

Mick Moran, Assistant Director, Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation, INTERPOL

Photo of Keith Bristow, Director General, NCA"The IWF is a highly valued partner for the NCA in the fight against child sexual exploitation and abuse, working tirelessly alongside law enforcement partners to disrupt the availability of child sexual abuse content globally.

"I want to congratulate the IWF and its Members on their achievements over the last 12 months and am looking forward to developing our relationship further, ensuring that the UK remains the global leader in preventing offenders accessing indecent images of children online."

Keith Bristow, Former Director General, NCA 

Photo of Johnny Gwynne, Director of CEOP Command"The blocking and removal of indecent images of children from the internet is a crucial part of the fight against this crime. 

The Internet Watch Foundation and its Members set the global standard for working in partnership to block offender access to this content and ensures that the UK is one of the most hostile countries in the world to the hosting of indecent images of children. 

We at the NCA look forward to continued collaboration with the IWF in combating child sexual exploitation and abuse."

Johnny Gwynne, Former Director, CEOP Command
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