The Child Rescue Alert scheme works by interrupting television and radio programmes with news flashes alerting the general public that a child has been snatched and is at risk of serious harm or death. Members of the public are asked to be vigilant and call 999 with any information.

Launching a Child Rescue Alert

The principles of launching a Child Rescue Alert are simple and easy to follow.The scheme is aimed at preventing any child from being abducted and murdered. The Alert has no other aim.

There are four key criteria to be met before an Alert is issued, namely:

  • A child under the age of 16 yrs old is missing
  • A senior police officer (of at least Superintendent rank) feels that serious harm OR death may occur to the child
  • The child has been kidnapped and...
  • The case has sufficient descriptive details (or CCTV/photos) of the victim or offender, to justify launching an Alert.

The Key Decision

The key decision is whether to launch an Alert at all as overuse will destroy confidence in the system.

It is acknowledged that the four criteria are all subjective, that is why the rank authorising such an alert will be that of, at least, Superintendent.

The authorising officer will allow for a circulation of an alert to all Hampshire media outlets, via email, which may contain some or all of the following:

  •  Description of the child
  • Scanned photo of the child
  • Details of location and nature of the offence
  • Description of the offender(s)
  • CCTV/photo of the offender(s)
  • Details of vehicle used.

Radio stations will broadcast this Alert every 15 minutes for four hours. TV stations will use a "ticker tape" at the bottom of the screen, directing the public to a page on their news text services (Ceefax etc) or, if a local transmission, will interrupt and show a newsflash.

Members of the public will be encouraged to keep their eyes and ears open for anything that may assist the police in recovering the kidnapped child. If they spot anything they should call the police using the 999 system.