Wiltshire Police Sign Up To New Child Rescue Alert System

9 October 2014, 18:08 | Updated: 9 October 2014, 18:22

Child Rescue Alert logo

Wiltshire Police have become the first Force in the country to sign-up to the enhanced Child Rescue Alert system.

Child Rescue Alert - which is run by NCA (National Crime Agency) CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection) and managed alongside the charity Missing People - is a partnership between the police, the media and the public. It assists in locating missing children (under 18 years old) who are perceived to be in imminent danger of serious harm or death and where there is sufficient information available to enable the public to assist police in locating them.

The revamped tool - which was officially launched by the Home Secretary, Theresa May, in the House of Lords in May 2014 - will bring significant benefits to the pre-existing alert system including the capability to fully utilise modern communication methods.
The new system will allow alerts to be sent out through both social and digital media, the internet, text messages and mobile apps. There is no cost to the public or to the police. The alerts are now localised ensuring the public receive correct, timely and relevant updates regarding a missing child in their area.

Wiltshire Police have agreed to become the first Force in the country to sign-up to the new-look alert. It means every officer and staff with a work mobile phone will automatically receive a text message whenever a Child Rescue Alert is activated. Messages can also be targeted, depending on the location of the incident.   

Pat Geenty, Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police, is also the national policing lead for Missing Persons. He said:

"I feel it is appropriate that we are the first Force in the country to show our support to what is an extremely critical tool in locating any missing child whose life is considered to be at serious risk. The reinvigoration of the alert was essential and means that, if it is ever necessary to activate a Child Rescue Alert in Wiltshire, it gives us the best opportunity to find that missing child as soon as possible. I would urge members of the local community to sign-up and will be speaking to my colleagues in other organisations within the county to ask they do the same."

Angus Macpherson, Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, said:

"In the very unlikely event of a child going missing in Wiltshire, I know that everyone would want to play their part to ensure the safe return of the child. The Force has for some time had an agreement with the media to broadcast details of a missing child as quickly as possible. With so many of us now owning smart phones, it makes perfect sense for the Chief Constable to sign up to the new child rescue alert system, ensuring a message is sent not only to police officers but police staff via their work mobiles. As far as I know Wiltshire is the first police force to involve its staff in this way and the Chief is to be commended.”

Karen Robinson, Head of Partnerships and Development at the charity Missing People, said:

"We are delighted that Wiltshire Police is leading the way in signing-up its staff to Child Rescue Alert. We hope this will set a helpful precedent for other police forces, agencies and members of the public to do the same. The success of Child Rescue Alert is down to each and every one of us, and we would encourage every member of the public to sign-up for these free text and email alerts when a local child goes missing now by visiting: www.childrescuealert.org.uk/register."

Johnny Gwynne, NCA Director of CEOP Command, said:

"We welcome this step by Wiltshire Police to ensure all of its business phones are set up to receive Child Rescue Alerts. When a child is abducted, it is vital that as many people as possible are rapidly on the lookout, and the law enforcement community has a central role in raising both awareness and take-up of the tool."