(QldGovSpin) Queensland leads with child abduction alert

Submitted by Editor on Tue, 02/11/2004 - 21:19

AIRLIE BEACH: Queensland will introduce a nation-leading Child Abduction Alert system by the end of the year, to quickly locate children who have been kidnapped and return them home safely, Premier Peter Beattie and the Minister for Police and Corrective Services, Judy Spence, announced today.

Kens Comment: How about you and Beattie have a little chat with me on TV about your so called "Child Abduction Alert system." Perhaps we could also touch on policy too. Like the one where your party allows system child abusers to steal childen away from innocient parents. Feel up to fronting me Spence? Don't forget to bring Beattie along. How about reading the article on the CHILD ABDUCTION CASE above before you do any more damage.

Police & Corrective Services, Judy Spence


"Queensland will be the first State to put in place a system for the urgent broadcast of information about suspected child abductions, enlisting community help in finding and safely recovering children, and apprehending the offenders," Mr Beattie said.

"The whole aim is to deter and catch abductors and return children as soon as possible," he said from the Government's 77th Community Cabinet.

"The introduction of a Child Abduction Alert system is another demonstration that Queenslanders consider the safety of our children to be paramount," he said.

Ms Spence added: "Queensland Police and South-East Queensland broadcast media have worked together to develop the system - based on overseas models - recognising that the abduction of a child is a heinous crime and this is one way we can all fight back.

"I am now encouraging other States to follow our lead and agree to adopt the system nation-wide."

Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson said Queensland Police would be able to declare a Child Abduction Alert when they have reasonable grounds for believing that:

* a missing child under the age of 17 years has been abducted;

* the child is at risk of serious harm or death;

* there is sufficient descriptive information available to make an alert effective; and

* an urgent public broadcast will assist location and safe recovery of the child.

"Police will then urgently notify the media and provide them with details about the child or children, where they were last seen and other important information like description of the offender and vehicle," Mr Atkinson said.

"The idea is that the media will break into normal transmission with a dedicated alert tone and then broadcast those details every fifteen minutes until the alert is cancelled - probably within four hours - instead of waiting for the next news bulletin.

"Time is a crucial factor in child abductions. Anyone with information that could help police quickly solve the abduction of a Queensland child will be asked to call 000 immediately."

Ms Spence said police had analysed data on child abductions and believe that an alert might be activated in Queensland on average six times a year, mainly in the South-East of the State.

"It is important that we don't over-use alerts and jeopardise effectiveness," she said.

"We need the community to be the eyes and ears of police and respond quickly, particularly when the lives of our children could be at stake."

Mr Atkinson said police were first concentrating on getting the basic components of the system up and running with radio stations by the end of the year.

"We are aiming for a phased introduction with the system expanded to include television and other potential stakeholders who could distribute the information, such as taxi companies, bus drivers, lottery networks and Queensland Transport," he said.

"The interest and support from organisations and individuals has been very encouraging, and we believe we will be able to use more and more avenues to reach the community with details of an alert, as is the case overseas."

Mr Beattie said the first Child Abduction Alert - known in the United States as an Amber Alert - was developed in Texas in 1996 following the kidnapping and murder of nine-year-old Amber Hagerman.

"By mid-2004, Amber Alerts were in place across 49 of the 50 States. Since 2002, a similar program has been adopted in most Canadian provinces and by four law enforcement agencies in the United Kingdom," he said.

Ms Spence added: "Amber Alert programs in the United States and parts of Canada are credited with contributing to the safe location of more than 150 abducted children since 1996.

"About 130 children are from the United States, and 100 of those have been found since October 2002 when the Amber program became a nationally co-ordinated effort.

"It is for that reason I will be making a submission to the Australasian Police Ministers' Council - in Hobart on November 16-17 - seeking support for the development of a national Child Abduction Alert system, based on the Queensland model.

"We are going ahead regardless of whether other states want to come on board because we believe the safe recovery of even one child makes it worthwhile.

"However, I hope other states and the territories will join our efforts to protect children and keep them safe," she said.

Media contact: Premier's Office 3224 4500
Minister's office 3239 6218 or 0439 673287



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