Child abduction alerts to change to US system

UNDER new rules Queensland police can issue a child abduction alert if any missing child is in serious danger.

This came into effect on Monday because under previous rules they could only issue a child abduction alert if there was evidence of an abduction.

The Queensland Government and police service announced an overhaul of the child abduction alert system which will now be known as Amber Alerts.

The Amber Alert system started in the United States as a legacy to a nine-year-old girl, Amber Hagerman, who was kidnapped while riding her bike in Texas in 1996 before being murdered.

Queensland is the first Australian state to introduce this notification system that alerts media and the public about missing children who are in danger.

Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said research showed the Amber Alert brand was strong and better known.

He said police officers would be allowed to issue an alert in high-risk missing children situations, not only when there is evidence of an abduction.

Mr Stewart said two children who went missing with their dog in North Queensland recently would have prompted an Amber Alert, but not an abduction alert.

"Child abduction alert works for some people but it doesn't work as well as Amber Alert, that is why we're moving to the rebranding of the system," Mr Stewart said.

Queensland Police Minister Jo-Ann Miller said child abductions and suspicious missing children cases were rare in Queensland and that in the 20 child abduction alerts issued during the past 11 years, many children were known to the offenders.

- APN NEWSDESK


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