Every year, up to one million children go missing in Europe. In order to reduce this number, AMBER Alert Europe connects law enforcement experts with each other and with the public when a child goes missing. In 2019, AMBER Alert Europe has made tremendous steps forward in an effort to save more missing children in Europe. Frank Hoen, Chairman and Founder of AMBER Alert Europe, presents the Annual Report 2019 and elaborates on how the foundation has worked towards #ZeroMissingKids the past year.

The previous year marked a historic year for our organisation. In 2019, the Police Expert Network on Missing Persons (PEN-MP), founded by AMBER Alert Europe, was officially recognised by a body of the Council of the European Union, with the meeting of the Law Enforcement Working Party.

All European member states supported the formalisation of the first and only police network that brings together law enforcement specialists on missing persons, and missing children specifically. Not only is this unprecedented, but also an enormous leap forward in strengthening cross-border police cooperation in this area in Europe.

That this kind of cooperation is absolutely necessary and crucial was proven yet again in December, when successful cross-border cooperation between police officers led to the safe recovery of an abducted Dutch infant in Germany.

Newly appointed PEN-MP President

In September, the Police Expert Network had a second successful meeting in Prague during which 60 police experts from 16 countries exchanged best practices, tools, and techniques to help save missing children. The meeting was closed by the President of the Network, Colonel Jan Rybár, of the Czech Police Presidium, who passed on the torch to Damjan Miklič, Senior Criminal Police Inspector Specialist at the Slovenian Police Directorate.

I would like to personally thank Jan for holding the first presidency of the PEN-MP and his invaluable commitment over the past two years. I am truly looking forward to continuing to build on our joint achievements with the newly appointed President.

Preventing children from going missing

Being informed is a critical first step to preventing a child from going missing or being abducted. In 2019, AMBER Alert Europe and the Police Expert Network launched another successful prevention campaign to educate children across Europe on how to protect themselves from getting lost or against a possible abduction. The ‘Stay Safe With Simon’ campaign was well received and shared with the public in twelve countries.

Growing network

Our organisation also continues to keep growing. Over the past year, we have built valuable partnerships with the national police forces of Sweden, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Lithuania, as well as with NGOs in the field of missing persons in the UK and Spain. I would like to express my gratitude to all of our partnering organisations, who each contribute in their own way to the success of our organisation. I am excited to expand our cooperation even further in 2020 and years to come.

Click here for the full report.