Netherlands becomes first country to post AMBER Alerts on ATMs
The Netherlands is the first country in the world to expand AMBER Alerts to automated teller machines (ATMs). Starting in May 2019, more than 300 ATMs began showing photos of missing children on the screens in airports, shopping malls, popular tourist attractions and other selected locations. The ATMs will show AMBER Alerts and the Vermist Kind Alert, a notification for an endangered missing child.
Food couriers now deliver missing persons posters in the Netherlands
The meal delivery service Deliveroo included posters of missing persons while bringing food during the month of May in the Netherlands. The “Ride to Find” campaign had the company’s couriers bring posters of one of five people who have been missing for a long time. The campaign was tried in December 2018 in the United Kingdom and helped find three missing people. Belgium also participated in the Ride to Find campaign in January 2019.
India state develops app for missing and abducted children
The state of Madhya Pradesh in India is developing an app to disseminate information about crimes, including missing and abducted children. The app is based on the U.S. AMBER Alert program. State Law Minister P.C. Sharma said, “Information about crimes and sketches of accused will reach the common man. It will help to arrest them in lesser time.”
British missing persons investigators expand across borders
The United Kingdom Missing Persons Unit is now bringing information and investigation assistance to other European countries. The Missing Persons Unit is part of AMBER Alert Europe’s Police Expert Network and is now offering its national database to help find missing individuals and identify bodies without identification. British officials are encouraging other law enforcement agencies to join the network.
Missing eleven-year-old girl helped create a Europe-wide AMBER Alert system
The disappearance of 11-year-old Madeleine McCann in 2007 from Algarve, Portugal, garnered international attention and eventually became the catalyst for AMBER Alert programs and additional resources to find missing and abducted children in Europe.
The case is the subject of a new Netflix series “The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann.” The missing girl’s mother, Kate McCann, also wrote a book detailing her efforts to get better alert systems for missing children in Europe. “It was clear to Gerry and me that if such a procedure had been in use in Portugal, Madeleine might have been swiftly tracked down,” wrote McCann.
Canada emergency alerts prompt tests, complaints and petitions
Canadian authorities tested the official emergency alert system on May 8, 2019, to make sure the loud notification tone and messages reached all cell phones. The emergency alerts are overseen by Alert Ready. Two earlier alerts went out at night, prompting a backlash from some Canadians who were wakened by the loud tones.
Ontario police are still asking the public to stop calling 911 to complain about receiving AMBER Alerts after an alert was issued in May and another one in July for two children believed to have been abducted.
One woman launched a campaign to fine people who call 911 to complain about AMBER Alerts. Dalia Monacelli is hoping her Change.org petition will convince the Ontario attorney general to levy fines against the complainers. “People have to understand that when they dial 911, they are taking time and personnel away from actual emergencies and that these actions could cost lives,” wrote Monacelli. More than 100,000 people signed the petition as of August 8, 2019.
Canadian police chiefs want license plates to remain on the front of vehicles
Police chiefs in Ontario, Canada, oppose a plan to no longer require front license plates on vehicles. The law enforcement leaders say the plates are needed to track down vehicles, especially ones being sought in AMBER Alerts. “That’s not going to assist us in solving these crimes and perhaps saving these children in AMBER Alert situations,” said Jeff McGuire, Ontario Association Chiefs of Police Executive Director.
Australian lotto company offers $300,000 to support AMBER Alert and missing children
Golden Casket, the company overseeing some of Australia’s lotteries, has pledged $300,000 to an organization working to keep children safe. The Daniel Morcombe Foundation supports the country’s AMBER Alert programs, provides assistance to crime victims and supports families of missing persons.
The foundation was created in 2005 by Bruce and Denise Morcombe after their 13-year-old son Daniel was abducted in 2003. Golden Casket also broadcasts information about missing and abducted children at 900 outlets in Queensland. The latest donation is funded by unclaimed lottery money.
European police create animated video for International Missing Children’s Day
Police from twelve European countries launched a prevention campaign for International Missing Children’s Day with the animated video “Stay Safe with Simon.” The two-and-a-half-minute video can be seen in languages spoken in Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, The Netherlands, The Republic of Srpska, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Malta and Austria.