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Child Rescue Alert Conference

On Thursday 26th November 2015, the National Crime Agency (NCA) is inviting representatives from across UK policing to a one-day conference focused on developing knowledge and understanding of the Child Rescue Alert (CRA).

The CRA seeks to ensure that not a minute is wasted in the search for a high-risk missing child. Investigating police forces can quickly issue details of the missing child through the media and other channels, enabling members of the public to be on the lookout. This event will introduce enhanced CRA options now available due to the support of Missing People and Groupcall, and to assist police officers in making effective and informed decisions about whether it is appropriate to launch the CRA.

Two senior investigating officers who have taken the decision to launch a CRA will be presenting case studies. They will discuss the benefits that CRA brought to their respective operations, as well as sharing the lessons learned. Other speakers will cover topics including links with other international child alert systems and tactical support that can be provided by the NCA and Missing People in the event of a launch scenario.

The conference will include workshop sessions to encourage active and open discussion among delegates around the benefits of CRA – such as the increased flexibility of the new options – and also address any perceived difficulties with the tool. Delegates will also have the opportunity to discuss the support police forces need from the NCA when considering a CRA launch. The event will be key to informing our future action plan around CRA and provide a positive forum to display how CRA can be used as a proportionate and dynamic investigative tool.


We are delighted to announce today the new partnership between Child Rescue Alert and Facebook. This huge step forward for the Child Rescue Alert system will harness the power of the social media giant’s community when a child’s life is believed to be at immediate risk. With over half of the UK population registered to Facebook, today’s announcement means that Child Rescue Alerts will have the potential to reach a far greater audience than ever before.

A staggering 140,000 children go missing each year in the UK. Recent research has shown a 13% increase in child abductions in the past year, when nearly 900 child abductions and child kidnappings were reported in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The six hours following a child’s disappearance – often referred to as the ‘golden hours’ – are critical to the investigation. The sooner the public is alerted to a disappearance, the greater the chance of the child’s safe return.

This innovative partnership will see Facebook utilise its latest technology to target alerts to specific geographical areas. Like the established email and SMS format of Child Rescue Alert, the Facebook format will feature a photo of the missing child along with a description, location of the abduction and any other available information that can be provided to the public to aid in the search. Once issued, the alert will instantly appear on the Facebook newsfeed, with the alert’s reach increased by ‘shares’ from Facebook users.

Jo Youle, Chief Executive of the charity Missing People which manages the Child Rescue Alert system in partnership with the CEOP Command of the National Crime Agency and Groupcall said “Every minute after a child’s disappearance is crucial to bringing them home safely. This fantastic new partnership with Facebook will mean even more members of the public can help safeguard children in the most extreme danger - and hopefully save a child’s life”.

A spokesperson for National Crime Agency said “The speed at which a large number of people can be reached and the opportunities for targeting the search area through Facebook will be valuable tools for police forces in the event of issuing a CRA.” A spokesperson for Groupcall says “Groupcall are delighted that Facebook are now supporting Child Rescue Alert having provided the technology behind the system”. 


When a child goes missing and their life is believed to be at risk, it’s important that there are as many eyes and ears to the ground as possible to increase the chances of the child returning safe and well. That’s why Missing People holds regular Child Rescue Alert sign-up days across the UK.

Child Rescue Alert sign-up days can be held almost anywhere and commonly take place in busy town centres, at sporting events or fêtes. Equally, they can be held in the workplace or at local community centres. At these events, representatives of Missing People speak to members of the public about Child Rescue Alert and why it’s useful, encouraging people to sign up. There is also the option sign up to receive future news about Missing People and some of their ongoing and future appeals.

At one recent sign-up event in Cowley, Oxford, a sign-up event was combined with a bake sale for members of the public. On that day alone, Missing People spoke to many about the importance Child Rescue Alert and signed up over 100 people to the system. To date, Missing People has organised 19 Child Rescue Alert sign-up events, which has contributed to the current number of sign-ups, which stands at 309,000, and helped raise awareness of the system. The charity has recently been lucky enough to partner with Barclays branches in the South East and London, sending volunteers across the area to join Barclays staff in their branches to raise awareness about Child Rescue Alert.

If you would like to find out more about how to organise a Child Rescue Alert sign-up day in your community, contact


Today, International Missing Children’s Day, marks the first anniversary of the launch of the enhanced Child Rescue Alert. The system is managed in partnership between Missing People, CEOP, a command of the National Crime Agency, and GroupCall. It has been made possible thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery Dream Fund.

Over the past year, the Child Rescue Alert partners have worked hard to raise awareness of the system by consistently building its reach through major new partnerships and by encouraging members of the public to sign up at over 65 sign up events and through high profile national media coverage. There are now 287,000 people signed up to receive the alerts.

Further highlights over the past year have included:

- A fundraising dinner at London’s Mondrian Hotel, in October
- A feature on Good Morning Britain in November highlighting the system, which lead to a further 70,000 sign-ups. Following the feature, the Child Rescue Alert app was in the top 100 most popular apps on app store Google Play.        
December saw the beginning of a partnership with Royal Mail Group. With 124,000 Royal Mail staff receiving alerts on their PDA and more eyes and ears than ever before to the ground when a high-risk child goes missing. The partnership between the charity Missing People and Royal Mail, which includes Child Rescue Alert, has recently been recognised with a Business Charity Award.    
- The first enhanced Child Rescue Alert was launched in March, with the subject on the alert, a 14 year old girl from Nottingham, being found safe and well within 24 hours of the alert being issued. 

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the Child Rescue Alert partners who have joined up to receive the alerts this year and recognise the enormous value in this ground-breaking national system. Over the coming year we will look forward to further building the network of partners and members of the public who sign up to receive the alert seeing this project go from strength to strength. 


On 10 March 2015 the first, national Child Rescue Alert in the UK, was issued using the new system.  A 14 year old girl went missing from her home in Nottinghamshire. The Police ordered an alert be issued and the system went into action.  Groupcall’s dedicated software ensured that every subscriber to Child Rescue Alert received the alert. The alert appeared on Facebook pages and Twitter feeds and on the hand held devices of 124,000 Royal Mail postal workers.

Thankfully the child was found safe and well less than 24 hours later.  Jo Youle Missing People Chief Executive said : “The Child Rescue Alert process went seamlessly and it's great that the child was found. Child Rescue Alert would not be possible without the National Crime Agency, Groupcall players of People’s Postcode Lottery, Royal Mail, LexisNexis, BHS, Press Association and Child Rescue Alert Patrons.”

18/11/2014:  124,000 postmen and women across the country will be assisting Child Rescue Alert to locate vulnerable missing children, significantly increasing the number of people committed to helping to find them. Click here to find out more.

13/11/2014:  Royal Mail have announced that they will be supporting Child Rescue Alert by sending alerts to postal workers via their handheld PDA devices.  Click here for more.

12/11/2014:  Following ITV1 Good Morning Britain's recent campaign to raise awareness of Child Rescue Alert, almost 70,000 people downloaded the Child Rescue Alert app or registered to receive alerts.  Click here to see why.

If your child went missing wouldn’t you want the world to stop and look for them? A Child Rescue Alert is activated when a child is known to have been abducted or their life is believed to be at immediate risk. Every second counts and your support is vital.

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