Police launch fast-alert system to help locate missing kids

Kluk jako buk, foto: archivo de Radio Praga

Every year thousands of children in the Czech Republic are reported missing. Some are found within hours or days, others disappear without a trace. The Czech Interior Ministry is now putting in place a fast alert system which would involve the media, mobile phone operators and the public to help make the search for missing children more effective.

There can hardly be a more traumatic moment in a parent’s life than dealing with their child’s disappearance. Every day the police get forty calls reporting a child gone missing. Some of these cases are abductions, others involve children running away from home or young children wandering off after being left unattended. Police statistics show that 20 percent of all missing children are in grave danger within minutes of disappearing – and the first few hours may decide whether they will be found dead or alive. Although such cases are given absolute priority and teams of officers are put on the case around the clock, the public usually does not get to hear about it until it is too late. That is about to change – as of May 25th the Interior Ministry is launching a local fast alert system which should make it easier to locate missing kids. Jitka Gjuričová of the Interior Ministry explains how:

“When the police are alerted to a child gone missing they will contact the media and mobile phone operators who will immediately pass on the information to the public. People within a six kilometre radius will get an SMS message with the child’s description, drivers will hear it on the radio or see it on electronic boards along highways. This will be done whenever the officer in charge of the case feels that involving the media and public might help.”

The fast alert system is to be set in motion on May 25th - and may also be used to locate old disoriented people or individuals who are dependent on medicines. The Czech Republic will be the fourth country in Europe to introduce it – after France, Greece and the Netherlands.