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Saturday, 11 March, 2000, 16:50 GMT
Missing children get net aid
missing posters
The website will add to more traditional ways of publicising missing children cases
A website that publicises the cases of missing children throughout the UK has been launched.

The site - www.missingkids.co.uk - is hoping to follow in the success of its American counterpart.

It has the backing of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).

Missing Kids
The website hopes to follow in the success of its American counterpart
Vindy Singh, web manager for Computer Associates, who are hosting the site, said it would add to the existing methods used to help find missing children.

"With the explosion of the internet it's another form of publicity we should be embarking upon," Mr Singh said.

The site is intended to add to current systems such as the Police National Computer, the National Missing Persons Bureau at New Scotland Yard and other organisations' databases.

The site will list the cases of missing children throughout the country.

As police forces receive details of a missing child they can enter their details onto the database, if they have the consent of the legal guardian and the investigating officer.

Visitors will then be able to search the site for children missing in their region or throughout the country.

Genuine concerns

They will then be given details of how they can contact the relevant officers if they suspect they know the whereabouts of any of the missing children.

Assistant Commissioner Ian Johnston, ACPO's spokesman on missing persons issues, welcomed the new initiative.

"The police service and other organisations who have a responsibility to safeguard children must embrace all that today's technology can offer in helping us find them and look after their welfare," he said.

He recognised there would be genuine concerns about putting photographs of the missing children on the website.

"I am satisfied, that on balance, the benefits of this scheme outweigh these concerns," he said.

Mr Singh said more than two year's preparation has gone into the setting up the site.

Computer Associates, a business software solutions company, have supplied all the technical equipment necessary to the forces taking part including computers and scanners.

So far the Metropolitan, Hertfordshire, Avon and Somerset, Staffordshire, South Yorkshire and South Wales police forces have signed up to the website.

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