Stephen Fry leads Child Rescue Alert scheme.

  • 15 February 2016

Stephen Fry leads a campaign to make every second count when a child is reported missing.

Stephen Fry is urging members of the public to help save the lives of high risk missing children as part of a two-week national campaign launched today. People are asked to register for free Child Rescue Alerts, activated when a child has gone missing and police believe their life is in imminent danger.

Fry appears in a short animation and major outdoor advertising campaign, developed with pro bono support from true crime network Crime + Investigation® (CI) and outdoor ad serving platform OpenLoop. A comic-book version of Fry reminds members of the public that you don’t need to be a superhero to save the day; simply having eyes and ears on the ground after a child goes missing may help save their life.

Similar systems around the world have helped in the search for hundreds of children. Child Rescue Alerts have been issued three times in the UK, most recently in March last year. Over 315,000 people are currently registered to receive targeted Child Rescue Alerts, which are issued by the charity Missing People on request of the police. The campaign aims to drive even more people and businesses to help.

Missing People charity patron Stephen Fry said: “I am delighted to be the animated face of this campaign. I believe that Child Rescue Alert should be a national institution – something for everyone to find out about and sign up to. It reminds me of a fire extinguisher – everyone should have one ready to use at a moment’s notice but we all hope that we will never need it.”

Child Rescue Alert is a partnership by the National Crime Agency, Missing People and education technology company Groupcall. It has been available as a national policing tool since 2008 and was enhanced in 2014 to allow the public to get involved thanks to funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery Dream Fund. In 2016, the service is being funded by Royal Mail, which has registered the handheld devices of 123,000 postmen and women across the UK to receive alerts.

Jo Youle, Chief Executive of the charity Missing People said: “Time and again at the charity we see communities rally together when a local child goes missing.

“Child Rescue Alert is thankfully not issued often – it’s for the most vulnerable of children going missing. We are asking everyone to join us and register to be alerted as soon as possible if a child goes missing in their communities.”

Bob Geldof, co-founder of technology company Groupcall, which provides the technology behind Child Rescue Alert, will complete the campaign by honouring companies and individuals involved at an awards ceremony later in February. Sir Bob said: “It’s a no-brainer. If your child went missing and their life was in immediate danger you would want to get the message out in minutes. If you care about children’s safety please sign up today for free at Child Rescue Alert”.

To register text HERO and your postcode to 85080. Registration costs a standard network text message rate. Obtain bill payer’s permission. Customer care 0208 392 4571. Once registered, it is then free to receive Child Rescue Alerts.


What to do when someone goes missing

If you are concerned about the whereabouts of a close friend, relative or a member of your community.  Report it.

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Missing Persons