SEROCU work safeguards over 180 children from potential abuse

A specialist police unit tackling child abuse and exploitation across the south east has helped safeguard 181 at-risk children in the last 12 months.

The South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU) manages the threat of child sexual exploitation and cybercrime – among other crime – across the region and works closely alongside police forces to apprehend those looking to commit such offences and safeguard those they are looking to exploit.

Since April 2019, SEROCU has supported forces in safeguarding children across the south east and detained 141 subjects, with many going on to face custodial sentences following court cases. Those jailed included a man who had travelled from Norfolk to Hampshire with the intention of abusing an eleven-year-old, and a Berkshire man who admitted nine child abuse offences.

Investigators use a range of specialist tactics and work to disrupt dangerous offenders operating across Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex and Thames Valley. They also provide support to investigations across the country and around the world, including recently in Australia, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and the USA, among others.

Officers are also warning parents and carers to be mindful that, due to current lock down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, internet use is increasing which could in turn see a rise in opportunities for predators to target children online. Parents can help protect their children during the pandemic with tips on SEROCU’s webpage and NCA-CEOP’s educational resources at

The key goal for investigators across SEROCU is to prevent and stop children being abused, so to safeguard over 180 children in the last year is a real testament to the dedication and diligence of our officers.

In these uncertain times, we know that many parents are looking to keep their children occupied and entertained using the internet. It’s absolutely vital that parents have regular conversations with their children about their online activity and try to make them feel comfortable to talk about anything that concerns them. It’s equally as important to report anything suspicious, regardless of how insignificant it may seem.

We are absolutely dedicated to catching the people looking to commit child abuse, whether this is online or physically, and our officers use specialist resources to track down and identify such offenders. People looking to commit these abhorrent activities should be under no illusion that they will be identified, caught and put before the courts.

Detective Inspector Phil Attwood

Anyone with concerns about online child abuse can report it to their local police force via 101. Officers will always follow up allegations of abuse and victims can talk in confidence to experienced investigators and help them get access to a range of support services.