Over 50 law enforcement experts from 17 European countries have joined AMBER Alert Europe’s Police Expert Network on Missing Children. The network, which was established in 2014, consists of active police experts as well as specialists with years of experience in the field of missing persons. In order to save more missing children across Europe, members can quickly contact and consult each other about missing children cases.
With 37.5 percent of Europeans living near the border, a missing child can easily cross to a neighbouring country. Because of the network, police experts know exactly who is the single point of contact for missing persons in another country. For example, when German police are looking for a missing child near the Dutch border, they can simply call their colleagues in the Netherlands and ask for assistance in the search for the child.
Frank Hoen, founder of AMBER Alert Europe: “The Police Network wants to take down barriers to improve the search for missing children across Europe. Now that there are no internal borders in the EU, it becomes even more crucial to communicate and cooperate with police forces from neighbouring countries. This kind of cooperation is unprecedented.”
Strong network of knowledge and expertise
Besides cross-border cooperation, the Police Expert Network also provides training to law enforcement authorities 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.”
In October, Hedges himself held a training at a round table on “Investigative & preventive response to missing children” at the Ministry of Interior in Vilnius, Lithuania, on how to quickly assess the risk when a child goes missing.