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McCanns join CEOP quango row

Home Office stands firm

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Theresa May is sticking to her plan to merge the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) into a larger law enforcement agency, despite further protests from Kate and Gerry McCann.

The couple's intervention follows the resignation of CEOP chief executive Jim Gamble, who quit after the Home Secetary made it clear she would not grant his organisation the independent quango status proposed by the previous government.

The McCanns, who have worked closely with Gamble on appeals for information about the disappearance of their daughter Madeleine, said: "Knowing how committed Mr Gamble is to this cause, it is extremely saddening that he feels unable to continue to lead CEOP, apparently as a consequence of the proposed governmental changes.

"The search for our daughter Madeleine has been greatly enhanced by the work carried out by the team at CEOP."

The Home Office has insisted its plans will build upon and not undermine CEOP's work. Internet firms told The Register yesterday they believe the proposed closer ties to the fight against organised crime could be a good thing for child protection online.

Since its foundation in 2006, CEOP has been under the supervision of the Serious and Organised Crime Agency. The coalition government plans to roll both organisations into a new National Crime Agency, which will also include a border police force.

CEOP said yesterday afternoon that three more of its senior officials are poised to resign over the row, but declined to name them, according to The Guardian. ®

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