Today, AMBER Alert Europe celebrates its 6th anniversary! Together with our partners, members and the public, we have accomplished many wonderful achievements over the past 6 years. One of these accomplishments is the Police Expert Network on Missing Children, which is the only group in Europe that brings together law enforcement experts in the field of missing children. Thanks to the Police Expert Network, law enforcement officials can quickly contact and consult each other about missing children cases. With one common goal: save more missing children in Europe.
Currently, the Police Expert Network consists of over 50 law enforcement experts from 19 European countries. With 37.5 percent of Europeans living near the border, a missing child can easily cross to a neighbouring country. “Every endangered missing child deserves an equal chance to be found as quickly as possible, this must not be inhibited by them crossing borders,” says Frank Hoen, founder of AMBER Alert Europe. “When a child goes missing and support is needed from colleagues in other countries, police specialists now know exactly who to call at 3 AM in the morning.”
Successful cross-border cooperation
This cross-border cooperation was proven to be essential last year, when the Dutch Police issued a national AMBER Alert for a 6-month-old girl from Eersel (NL). The child, who was placed in foster care, was violently taken by her biological parents. Because police feared they had crossed the border, information about the child was also shared in Germany. The AMBER Alert led to dozens of valuable tips. Thanks to one of these tips, the baby could safely be found in a German vacation resort in Bad Bentheim near the Dutch border.
Strong network of knowledge and expertise
Besides improving cross-border cooperation, the Police Expert Network has provided law enforcement across Europe with training on how to deal with missing children cases. Charlie Hedges, Police Expert Network coordinator and UK’s foremost missing children expert: “Members can actively make use of each other’s expertise, whether it be a quick phone call or a training session. By continuously sharing relevant knowledge on missing children, police experts can strengthen their own national procedures.”
Creating and improving AMBER Alert systems
Through the years, AMBER Alert Europe has developed national AMBER Alert systems in Malta, Luxembourg and the Slovak Republic, allowing them to quickly bring information about a missing child to the attention of the public. “Since technology evolves so quickly, it is of the utmost importance that police keep up with the latest technological developments. We are always keen to help”, says Hoen.
Looking forward to the future
‘’We are proud of our success and growth over the past 6 years. However, this would have not been possible without your continued support, thank you”, says Hoen. “AMBER Alert Europe is looking forward to seeing what the future holds and aims to keep working together towards #ZeroMissingKids.”