09 April 2008

Google 08 apr 08 - Amber Hagerman

amber hagerman The name that became a verb - Amber. The "amber alert" is to become a worldwide system for tracking missing children. This subject is on the top news these days because of another girl, Madeleine McCann.

The parents of missing toddler Madeleine McCann are to ask MEPs to push European governments to adopt a coordinated cross-border system for missing children. Gerry and Kate McCann are due to make the appeal when they speak at a conference in parliament on Thursday. The parents of the missing four-year-old will press for the setting up of a Europe-wide network to track down abducted children. UK Tory MEP Edward McMillan-Scott, who helped to arrange the visit, said: “In the UK alone, according to the children’s society, each year 130,000 kids run away, are ejected from home, are abducted, or worse, are injured or killed. “Unfortunately we have no agreement on how to define missing children. The police makes no distinction between missing adults or children, and despite a guidance note in 2005, each police force operates a different system.” The couple will call for the establishment of a European missing child hotline, an amber alert system – based on the US model – and a European child resource and policy unit. The amber alert, named after nine-year-old Amber Hagerman, who was killed by her abductor, operates like a severe weather warning system, with messages flashed on radio, television and motorway signs. In Europe only Belgium and France have adopted a similar system. McMillan-Scott said that in the US it has helped the recovery of nearly 400 abducted children since 2003. Eighty per cent have been recovered in the crucial first 72 hours. A similar call has been made by UK Socialist deputy Arlene McCarthy, who said, "Any publicity that puts the spotlight on our campaigning work with children’s NGOs is welcome if it delivers results for the thousands of missing children.” McMillan-Scott added, “Gerry and Kate want a European child centre – like the one in Washington – to bring together governments, the police and the voluntary sector to work on a united front and eliminate layers of frustrating bureaucracy and duplication of work.” He said it would provide a single focal point for data collection, drafting of policies and public communication on all aspects of policy, and added, “The McCanns tell me that the least they can do is ask for some political will. “They have got the support of the leading missing children organisations and the good will of every right-minded European. “It is impossible to know what they are going through. We are all praying for the safe return of Madeleine. At the same time Europe must together do all it can to prevent other families suffering like the McCanns.”

Madeleine McCann
Madeleine McCann

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