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Child Rescue Alert

Original Source: NPIA: TUESDAY 25 MAY 2010

The new nationally co-ordinated Child Rescue Alert is being launched on International Missing Children's Day (IMCD) May 25 2010.

Child Rescue Alert (CRA) is a partnership between the police, the press and the public. Its aim is to locate abducted children and bring them to safety by using the media to promptly publish details about an abducted child's disappearance to the public. When an alert has been broadcast, the public will be asked to call 0300 2000 333 if they have information that may help in the investigation.

Only calls concerning the current CRA should be made to 0300 2000 333. This is a free phone number donated by Cable and Wireless and it will only be active when a CRA has been declared.


The Missing Persons Bureau has developed the nationally co-ordinated CRA system and offer free advice and operational support to help investigate and publicise cases where a child has been abducted.

We are working to align the UK's CRA system to make it compatible with other alert systems in Europe.   Not all cases will result in a CRA being activated. The decision to launch a CRA is an operational one made by the Senior Investigating Officer for the force concerned.

The criteria for launching a CRA is:

  • The child is under the age of 18
  • There is reasonable belief that the child has been kidnapped or abducted (which includes being taken under the influence of a third party)
  • There is reasonable belief that the child is in imminent danger of serious harm or death
  • There is sufficient information available to enable the public to assist the police in locating the child

Police officers considering issuing a Child Rescue Alert should consult the CRA protocol 2010 for further guidance and information on how to access 24 hour NPIA assistance.

International Missing Children's Day (IMCD)

Every year on the 25 May the Missing Persons Bureau remembers all missing children in the UK and around the world. Eight countries across four continents are participating in IMCD 2010.

This year, the focus is on the complex issue of parental abduction. The UK has selected six children to highlight this issue and form part of the 2010 commemorations:

  • Sigourney Teresa Chisolm
  • Andrew Thompson
  • Telvin Timba
  • Shawn Timba
  • Sami Odeh  
  • Rami Odeh

Please lend your support to International Missing Children's Day by joining the facebook group, follow us on Twitter or view the IMCD YouTube channel. Details of missing children may be viewed from the Missing Kids website.

Find out more about the invaluable work of other organisations and charities (including Missing People, Forever Searching, Reunite, Railway Children and PACT)  linked to missing. Parents can find advice about child exploitation at the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre.

To receive updates from the National Missing Persons Bureau about developments to the Child Rescue Alert scheme please register your details. Note updates will not be frequent

Register to receive updates

History of CRA

The Child Rescue Alert is based on the AMBER alert system which has been in use in the United States since 1997. AMBER stands for "America's Missing Broadcasting Emergency Response" and was named after nine year old Amber Hagerman who was abducted, raped and murdered in January 1996, although the national programme is dedicated to all children nationwide who've been abducted. 

It was later discovered that local law enforcement had information that might have helped to locate her shortly after she was abducted, but had no means to distribute this information and this is why the AMBER alert system was developed.

Sussex Police first introduced a Child Rescue Alert system for their force on 14 November 2002. Surrey and Hampshire quickly followed. Since then there has been a gradual introduction throughout England and Wales and by 2005 every force had their own alert system.

History of International Missing Children's Day (IMCD)

On 25th May 1979, a six-year-old boy, Etan Patz went missing in New York.  He was never seen again, as a result of this NCMEC (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children) was established in the United States. In 1983 the President of the United States declared 25th May 'Missing Children's Day' and this has been recognised ever since in the United States and is now also supported across the world.  

The NPIA Missing Persons Bureau, is the UK member of the Global Missing Children's Network (GMCN), and is supporting IMCD in co-ordination with GMCN partners including the Australian Federal Police (AFP), the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC) .  Missing Children Europe and its associated Non Governmental Organisations are also participating in commemorations for the day.   


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