Stephen Fry is urging members of the public to help save the lives of high risk missing children as part of a two week long national campaign launching 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 developed with pro bono support from TV channel CI and creative technology specialists Grand Visual.
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.
I believe that Child Rescue Alert should be a national institution – something for everyone to find out about and sign up to
Similar systems around the world have helped in the search for hundreds of children. Child Rescue Alerts have been issued four 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; the digital out of home campaign alone will achieve an estimated 60 million impressions over the fortnight.
“I believe that Child Rescue Alert should be a national institution – something for everyone to find out about and sign up to,” said Fry. “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 since 2008 and was enhanced in 2014 to allow the public to get involved thanks to funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery. 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.
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 childrescuealert.org.uk”.