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According to a US Department of Justice study, 74% of children who were kidnapped and murdered, were killed within the first 3 hours of their abduction. This is why it is imperative for the police to act quickly and to enrol the public’s help as soon as possible.

The Child Rescue Alert, modelled on American’s highly successful AMBER Alert, meets this challenge.


HagermanIn 1996, 9-year old Amber Hagerman was kidnapped and brutally murdered in Arlington, Texas. Her tragic death had such a profound impact on her community that it prompted local police forces and broadcasters to develop the AMBER (America’s Missing Broadcast Emergency Response) Plan.

The plan is simple: as soon as a child is abducted, police forces alert radio and television stations. They, in turn, interrupt their programmes to broadcast information about the missing child using the Emergency Alert System (EAS), which is typically used for warning the public of severe weather emergencies.

This initiative has been so successful that most States in America have now developed their own version of AMBER. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) has been the driving force behind this expansion.

Crossing the Atlantic

CRA Launch
Bob and Sally Dowler, the parents of missing school girl, Millie Dowler, with Chief Constable Denis O’Connor at the launch of Child Rescue Alert in Surrey.

In November 2002, the Sussex Police launched their own version of AMBER, which they called Child Rescue Alert. It was soon rolled out nationally.

An Alert is activated only when it is feared that the abducted child (under 16 years old) is in imminent danger of serious harm or death and that there is sufficient information to enable the public to assist the olice in finding the child. To be successful the Alert relies on close partnership with the media.

Child Rescue Alert has the added value of sending a strong message that crimes against children will not go unpunished and that the police, broadcasters, NGOs, and the public will work together to apprehend predators.

Child Rescue Alert

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