GCHQ and NCA join forces to ensure no hiding place online for criminals

6 November 2015

An NCA and GCHQ co-located Joint Operations Cell (JOC) opens officially today. The unit brings together officers from the two agencies to focus initially on tackling online child sexual exploitation.

Director GCHQ Robert Hannigan said: 

"The Joint Operations Cell will increase our ability to identify and stop serious criminals, as well as those involved in child sexual exploitation and abuse online. This is a challenging task as we must detect them while they attempt to hide in the mass of data. We are committed to ensuring no part of the internet, including the dark web, can be used with impunity by criminals to conduct their illegal acts."

NCA Director General Keith Bristow said:

"The explosion in online communication channels has brought huge benefits for society. It has also significantly expanded the means by which criminals can share information, plan crimes including the sexual exploitation of children, and target victims. The JOC is a genuinely innovative development, using the best of our respective agencies' skills to tackle the most complex cases and the most dangerous offenders online."

The Prime Minister announced plans to create the JOC at the We Protect Children Online Global Summit in December 2014.

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