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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 September, 2003, 18:56 GMT 19:56 UK
Surrey adopts child alert scheme
How TV programmes were interrupted in July
This is how TV screens looked when Sussex Police used the alert in July
A second UK police force is to adopt a scheme which interrupts TV and radio programmes with appeals over missing or abducted children.

Surrey Police announced on Tuesday they would be following colleagues in Sussex in using Child Rescue Alert.

When an alert is issued by a senior officer a message is sent to local news organisations which have agreed to take part in the scheme.

Appeals for help, with information on the missing child, are then broadcast through the media.

They would be broadcast on local radio stations, or appear on a strap along the bottom of the television screen.

The first few hours after a child goes missing are crucial
Detective Constable Paul Falconer

Surrey Police met on Tuesday with 11 television and radio stations to discuss how the operation would work.

The system is based upon an American concept called Amber Alert which has helped find more than 60 missing children.

Sussex Police launched Child Rescue Alert in 2002 but have only issued one alert, in July this year, when a six-year-old girl was reported missing in Brighton.

Detective Constable Paul Falconer, project manager on the scheme for Surrey Police, said: "Child Rescue Alert could make a real difference in saving a child's life.

"The first few hours after a child goes missing are crucial and the real benefit of this scheme is that it alerts members of the public to the abduction quickly so that they can help look for the child.

"It is thankfully very rare that a child is abducted but it is essential that, when it does happen, we are in the best possible position to find them safely."

Surrey Police says it hopes to have the scheme up and running by December.

Other forces around the UK are thought to be considering joining the scheme.




SEE ALSO:
Snatch alert swings into action
08 Jul 03  |  Southern Counties
Kidnap warning scheme launched
14 Nov 02  |  UK News


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