Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Spreading the word about Child Rescue Alert

Paul Joseph, Missing People Child Rescue Alert Lead

It’s not often that you can say you’re pleased no-one has used your service but that is the case with Child Rescue Alert.  No news really is good news.   My name is Paul Joseph and I am the Services Team leader for Child Rescue Alert at Missing People.  Since we launched Child Rescue Alert a year ago, thankfully we haven’t had call to use it, but just because we haven’t issued an alert it doesn't mean we don’t need you.   In fact it’s more important than ever to keep the momentum going, to continue to get people and organisations to sign up to this vital emergency service.

When we launched the enhanced Child Rescue Alert in May 2014 we set ourselves ambitious targets. We wanted to have 100,000 people signed up by the end of the first year and to be able to reach 1 million people with an alert.   Two weeks ago we smashed that target, currently we have 252,000 individuals registered and we can already reach 6% of the population with an alert but we won’t stop there.   We need to keep spreading the word, keep enlisting more individuals and search partners.  After all, if it was your child that was missing wouldn’t you want everyone to join the search?

Missing People Ambassador Kate McCann speaking at the launch said: “When a child is abducted, families are devastated and entire communities are torn apart. The agony of not knowing where your child is, is almost impossible to imagine. The helplessness is at times overwhelming. But there is now something we can all do to help. Please sign up to receive alerts – you could save a child’s life.”
When Gerry and Kate McCann were helping research Child Rescue Alert they travelled to the US to see the Amber Alert (the US version) in action and were extremely impressed. Since 2003, nearly 400 children have been successfully recovered thanks to the system. Eighty per cent were rescued in the first 72 hours after being snatched.

In the Netherlands their ‘one button’ Amber Alert system now reaches ten percent of the population within minutes of a reported child abduction.  It's been shown that a speedy response is critical in such cases. There are real examples where abductors have released children because they saw the alert on the TV, or billboard, or heard it on the radio.

In the last 12 months we have joined forces with the Royal Mail, Press Association and the Outdoor Media Centre to display Child Rescue Alerts on digital advertising boards, have access to all regional media and increasing our eyes and ears on the ground with postal workers.  This year we will look to securing a major supermarket chain, utilities and services who can either help in the search or encourage their customers to sign up to Child Rescue Alert.

The success of the system is heavily reliant on public involvement and support.  We’ve seen how quickly a message can spread virally via Twitter, Facebook, text messages. To harness that level engagement when a child disappears, we need even more people to sign up and to be ready when we need them. 

An alert will only be sent when the Police believe it is warranted and a child is in imminent danger. Thankfully we haven’t had call to issue one since it was launched but it has given us time to expand our network.   Keep spreading the word, tell friends, relations, colleagues to register at www.childrescuealert.org.uk it’s quick, simple, free and could save a child’s life.

1 comment:

  1. If you are locating a missing person, you obviously know the first and last name of this person. Unless you are a detective investigating a crime and you don't yet know whodunit. Just enter some information to the database of missing people, and you can find them easily.


Someone is reported missing every 90 seconds in the UK. The Missing Blog aims to give a voice to all those affected by this issue.

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