AMBER Alert Europe assists in saving missing children at risk by connecting law enforcement with other police experts and with the public across Europe. AMBER Alert Europe advocates that one missing child is one too many and aims for zero missing children in Europe.
AMBER Alert Europe’s 32 participating organisations include civil society, authorities and business from 21 countries. AMBER Alert Europe facilitates the Police Expert Network on Missing Children, consisting of over 50 experts from 20 countries, and the Task Force on AMBER Alerts. The goals of AMBER Alert Europe are backed by 465 Members of the European Parliament: most successful Written Declaration since 2011.
Saving the lives of missing children
Dedicated to the protection of missing children, AMBER Alert Europe connects citizens with law enforcement when the police believe the public can help save the child’s life. It provides for training and cross-border coordination to law enforcement.
AMBER Alert Europe provides support in an advisory and knowledge-sharing role to its members and partners, who, together with the network of connected citizens, are on the lookout when a child goes missing across Europe.
A crowdsourced organisation
It receives donations in the form of government grants, monies as well as in the form of services (IT, communication) from companies and individuals that, in the context of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and/or their personal engagement, are eager to contribute to the protection of missing children.
Netpresenter, True, QNH, Axon, Microsoft, Sanoma, Widgets, Google and Bureau Brussels. These sponsors provide for: office space, manpower, software and other operational facilities.
In November 2008 AMBER Alert Netherlands was launched by social enterprise Netpresenter and the Dutch police. With a reach of more than 12 million Dutch citizens, AMBER Alert Netherlands quickly became an example of how citizen sourcing can work; in 94 percent of the cases, the child was successfully found. AMBER Alert Netherlands forms part of the Dutch police services.
The creation of AMBER Alert Europe
Drawing upon the Dutch experience, and in the conviction that it should not matter where a child comes from for its chances to be found, AMBER Alert Europe was launched in March 2013 by a group of specialists in law enforcement and IT services with the following goal:
- To be a life-saving factor in abductions or disappearances of children or other vulnerable people throughout Europe;
- To undertake any further actions necessary related to achieving or advancing the above-mentioned goal, in the broadest sense.
Goals & way forward
One of the ways AMBER Alert Europe aims to achieve its objective is by removing bureaucratic, legal, geographical or linguistic obstacles. In order to achieve its objective, the organisation will try to liaise with organisations striving to improve security within the European society.
Today, AMBER Alert Europe is working towards this goal and it has developed five key points – backed by 465 MEPs – that serve as a first step in putting the above in practice.
“On the 28th of April 2015, the Czech Parliament signed AMBER Alert Europe’s plan of action calling for improved cross-border cooperation concerning endangered missing children”
Ms. Radka Maxova
Chairwoman of the Standing Committee on Family Affairs and Gender Equality, Czech Parliament
“Joining forces with AMBER Alert Europe is the next step in further improving the Polish Child Alert system and helping to extend the reach of a Polish Child Alert”.
Chief Commander of Police in Poland
AMBER Alert Europe’s operational team is responsible for the daily management of AMBER Alert Europe’s activities. The team is composed of people that are serviced by AMBER Alert Europe’s sponsors, as well as volunteers.
Lodewijk Buschkens (BE)
Sr. Public Affairs Manager
Profile: As senior public affairs manager in Brussels, Lodewijk supports the positioning and advocacy of AMBER Alert Europe towards the European Union. He has over 20 years’ experience in European Public Affairs.
Charlie Hedges (UK)
Missing Children Police Expert Group Coordinator
Profile: Charlie Hedges is a renowned UK specialist in the field of missing children. He is responsible for the Police Expert Group and provides specialist support and training in the area of missing children. Working at the UK Police force for over 30 years, he has helped to shape policy and strategy in this area. Mr Hedges has worked for the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), the UK National Crime Agency (NCA), and the UK Police Forces.
Linda van Oppen (The Netherlands)
Operations Manager & Legal
Profile: As Head of Operations of AMBER Alert Europe, Linda is involved in all aspects of the day-to-day management of the foundation, while working tirelessly to further develop the AMBER Alert Europe community across Europe.
Richard Renkens (Belgium)
Technical Support Coordinator
Profile: Richard is responsible for the development and maintenance of the AMBER Alert Europe website as well as the coordination of support to EU countries in the process of implementing a national AMBER Alert mechanism.
Antoinette Vlieger (The Netherlands)
Human Rights Activist / Legal Counsel
Profile: Antoinette is a lawyer with a background in human rights research. She provides legal counsel, knowledge of human trafficking and scientific criticism.
Frits Vos (Belgium)
Chief Technical Officer
Profile: Frits is in charge of the design and implementation of national AMBER Alert mechanisms. He oversees the overall technical strategy of AMBER Alert Europe.