Kate and Gerry McCann have been helping
to launch a revamped nationwide alert system for missing children
disappeared in 1993 aged two - she is thought to be in the
The parents of
Madeleine McCann have campaigned for a system
to be operational in the UK since the disappearance of their daughter in
Portugal in May 2007.
The network is
compatible with other European countries for the first time.
Similar to the
amber alert in the US, the system is aimed at raising public awareness
if a child goes missing and will also allow police to issue Europe-wide
national television and radio stations will broadcast messages, in some
cases interrupting scheduled programmes.
system is being launched on
International Missing Children's Day.
head of the National Police Improvement Agency (NPIA), said: "Through
Child Rescue Alert the community is able to form a strong alliance to
help in the hunt for child abductors when an alert is activated.
"It is fitting
that the NPIA should relaunch (the) alert on International Missing
Children's Day, which forms a poignant reminder of the sense of
devastation caused to the parents and families of children who go
Madeleine McCann's parents
believe their daughter is alive
Police say the
first few hours after an abduction are crucial in locating a missing
But they expect
the alerts to be rarely issued and will use new computer software to
handle the anticipated deluge of calls from concerned members of the
The system is
being co-ordinated by the NPIA and, in cases where the child's UK home
address is not known, supported by Greater Manchester Police.
and the Czech Republic have already introduced their versions of child
abduction alerts that link with the European network.
national alert system was established in 2005 and has only been used on
a handful of occasions.
An alert can
only be issued when the child is aged under 18, there is a reasonable
belief he or she has been abducted and could be in imminent danger.