More than four kids in the UK are snatched like Madeleine
McCann every single week
'Officials had no idea of the scale of the threat posed to
MORE than four Brit kids are snatched by strangers every week, a shock
Daily Star Sunday investigation can reveal.
Even more horrifying is that officials had no idea of the scale of the
threat posed to children.
The only centrally-held statistics cover all child abductions but have
no breakdown of those involving strangers.
Today there are calls for immediate changes to the way we monitor crimes
affecting the most vulnerable members of society.
Our probe found that there were at least 500 reports of child abduction
in England and Wales in 2010 and 211 and, of those, around 42% involved
strangers snatching or attempting to snatch youngsters.
The figures, obtained by contacting every police force in England and
Wales, show the whereabouts of abduction hotspots.
Just under a quarter of cases involving strangers were in the
Metropolitan Police force area, while Greater Manchester Police reported
46 cases of “abduction of a child by other persons”.
West Midlands police had 25 cases, although they pointed out that
none had been “successful” stranger abductions.
Although we obtained the fullest picture ever collected, one police
force out of the 43 refused to tell us how many children had been
snatched or targeted. Cumbria Police claimed that giving us the figures
would potentially breach data protection issues.
Almost all the figures submitted for child abductions included attempted
abductions, so a breakdown showing how many children were snatched was
Lady Catherine Meyer, who runs the Parents and Abducted Children
Together charity (PACT), has been campaigning for a better system of
recording missing and abducted children for the past five years.
Lady Meyer, who set up PACT after her own children were abducted, said
211 was “a lot of children abducted by strangers”. She added that a
central database was “something I’ve been lobbying and fighting for for
The charity Missing People said our investigation highlighted the need
for a national strategy.
Chief executive Martin Houghton-Brown said: “These findings add further
weight to the Government’s announcement that it will be developing a
national strategy on missing people.”
A Home Office spokesman said: “We are determined to protect vulnerable