AMBER Alert International – Spring 2018

AMBER Alert Europe Starts Task Force to Save More Missing Children

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AMBER Alert Europe launched a task force on January 29, 2018, with a mission for saving missing children. The task force includes experts from the Czech Republic, Malta, Poland and the Netherlands. The task force provides a way to share information and best practices, network with colleagues across Europe and learn how to enhance their AMBER Alert systems.

“When a child goes missing, an AMBER Alert system connects police with the public through technology,” said Frank Hoen, founder of AMBER Alert Europe. “Since technology evolves so quickly, it is crucial that police keep up with the latest technological developments.”

Nine Out of Ten missing European Children Recovered in 2017 Through AMBER Alerts

European law enforcement officials brought home 93 percent of the children safely after issuing AMBER Alerts in 2017. AMBER Alerts were issued 27 times for 31 children.

The success stories include the Netherlands’ recovery of a 15-year-old deaf and autistic boy after an AMBER Alert was issued. Police believed he was in imminent danger due to weather conditions. More than 12 million Dutch citizens responded to the alert. A crucial tip helped reunite the boy with his family.

The Czech Republic issued an AMBER Alert for a two-year-old girl who had been missing for two months. The girl’s mother abducted the child but turned herself into police after the alert was issued. The child was found in good health.

Punjab Plans to Create an AMBER Alert System

The Punjab government has formed a committee to help protect children and has plans to start an AMBER Alert system. Punjab is a geographical and cultural area in eastern Pakistan and northern India. Officials hopes the child abduction alerts will help recover abducted children and help prevent the crimes from happening in the first place.

Fake AMBER Alert Spread on Facebook in Canada

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC) in Canada said a post about a fake AMBER Alert was shared nearly 5,000 times on Facebook in early March 2018. The post stated: “RNC have issued an AMBER Alert, please share. Last seen at Mount Pearl Summit Centre yesterday evening 7:30,” and included a photo of a young girl. The RNC is now investigating who made the false report.

Canadian Police Agency Using License Plate Readers for Child Abductions

The Sault, Ontario, Police Department can now scan license plates to spot AMBER Alert suspects and other offenders. The Automatic License Plate Reader (ALPR) has three cameras placed in a police car that can scan six plates a second. The ALPR contains data provided by the Canadian Police Information Centre. The Ontario Provincial Police have 30 ALPR units and have used them since 2009.

Cayman Islands Creating an AMBER Alert Program

The Cayman Islands government is creating an emergency alert system that will include AMBER Alerts. The British territory is located in the western Caribbean Sea. The notification system would send messages to all smartphone users, radio, TV and cable television programs. The system is expected to cost $1 million to implement. The Cayman Islands initially tried a basic SMS text message system for sending emergency alerts, but that method proved to be ineffective during a tsunami-exercise last year.

More Than 50 Experts Working to Recover Europe’s Missing and Abducted Children

The AMBER Alert Europe Police Network now has more than 50 law enforcement experts from 17 countries to help find missing and abducted children. The network was established in 2014 to assist law enforcement officers in quickly contacting and consulting with each other on missing child cases. These contacts are crucial, as 37.5 percent of Europeans live near bordering areas and a missing child can easily cross to a neighboring country. Because of the network, police experts can easily find and maintain information on a single point-of-contact for missing persons in another country.