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New alert system for missing children in danger

The National Crime Agency (NCA) and the charity Missing People have today announced plans to launch an enhanced Child Rescue Alert (CRA) system to issue alerts at the touch of a button when a child goes missing and is in imminent danger.

Groupcall Limited, the formal technology and communication partner, will enable alerts to be issued via SMS, email, social media and broadcast partners. The system will go live on International Missing Children’s Day (25 May), but is already available for the public to sign up to receive alerts via
Missing People Ambassador Kate McCann 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.”
The project is funded by:

  • The players of People’s Postcode Lottery through a £225,000 award from its Dream Fund which gives organisations the chance to deliver a project they have always dreamed of, but never had the opportunity to bring to life
  • The EU through a €100,000 award as part of a programme to set up new child abduction alert mechanisms across Europe.

Jo Youle, Chief Executive of Missing People, said: “Every minute after their disappearance is crucial to bringing a child home safely. Child Rescue Alert will now mean the public and companies can help - and hopefully save these children’s lives.
“This is a fantastic cross-sector approach to safeguard children in the most extreme danger, which has been made possible thanks to the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery. Via the National Crime Agency, police forces across the UK will be able to request the public’s support with an investigation in a safe way, using the very latest technology.
Charlie Hedges, Manager of Missing and Abducted Children at the National Crime Agency’s CEOP Command said:
“The success of Child Rescue Alert is down to each and every one of us. I’ve already been encouraged by the wide range of organisations which have joined us in partnership to offer their support and help launch this invaluable tool. Now it’s down to the public to sign up for the alerts so we can send the message as widely as possible when a child goes missing.
“With the expertise of the National Crime Agency, Missing People and Groupcall joining forces with some of the most powerful and influential organisations, we can ensure that not a single minute is wasted after a child goes missing.”
Further official supporters of Child Rescue Alert include BHS, The Sun, Press Association, Microsoft, the Outdoor Media Centre, Hopewiser, Rock Choir and Twitter.
In the Netherlands more than 10 per cent of the entire population receive, or view, such alerts (Source: Amber Alert Netherlands). The National Crime Agency and Missing People aim to reach one million people with Child Rescue Alerts within the first year.
Awareness activity across May under the banner of Forget-Me-Not month will culminate in the Child Rescue Alert system going live on 25 May, International Missing Children’s Day.
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