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The National Missing Persons Bureau is responsible for testing the criteria for issuing an AMBER Alert or Missing Child Alert.

Distributing a photo and information on a missing child is a profound instrument to find a missing child. The police pay close attention to the privacy and potential consequences of public attention to a missing child case. Only in the most worrying cases, the police publicly shares information on a missing child.

AMBER Alert Netherlands exclusively issues AMBER Alerts and Missing Child Alerts as requested by the police:

  1. AMBER Alert: the life of a missing or abducted child is in immediate danger;
  2. Missing Child Alert: The police is extremely worried about the well-being of a missing child and this requires a prompt and regionally focused approach.

AMBER Alerts

An AMBER Alert is a nationwide emergency message that is issued when the Dutch National Police fear the life of an abducted or missing child is in imminent danger.

Criteria

The LBVP of the Dutch National Police is responsible for issuing AMBER Alerts, for which they have strict criteria:

  • The child is (very likely) abducted by an unknown person or persons or the child is missing and its life is in imminent danger;
  • The victim is a minor (under 18 years of age);
  • There is enough information about the victim to increase the chances of the child being found by means of an AMBER Alert, such as a photo, information about the abductor or the  vehicle used during the abduction;
  • The AMBER Alert is issued as soon as possible after the abduction or disappearance of the child.

Media bomb

When an AMBER Alert is issued, the whole country transforms into one big missing children’s poster. A picture of the missing child is instantly visible everywhere: on TVs, highway signs, billboards and on thousands of websites. AMBER Alerts are also shared via SMSe-mailTwitterFacebook, apps and TV- and radio broadcasting, highly increasing the chances of a positive outcome.

Missing Child Alert

A Missing Child Alert is no AMBER Alert. When a Missing Child Alert is issued, the police suspect doesn’t suspect the child’s life to be in immediate danger. However, the police is extremely worried about the well-being of the child and this requires a prompt and regionally focused approach.

About 20 times a year, the police issue a Missing Child Alert to get more regional attention for a missing child. A photo of the child will be distributed via social media and the police can inform specific target groups (e.g. railway personnel or the transport sector).

Source: NOS (original Dutch article).

Examples of how the system can be used in case of an endangered missing child alert:

Missing children

Annually, thousands of children go missing. Most children are retrieved quickly. In case of a missing child, the police assess to which extent the child is in danger. Following this assessment, they decide how to act. AMBER Alert Netherlands exclusively distributes AMBER Alerts and information about endangered missing children. The police only issue an AMBER Alert when a child’s life is in imminent danger (AMBER Alert) or when there are substantial indications that the child is at high risk of harm and/or in immediate danger, and rapid action is required (endangered missing child).

Children often run away from home or are abducted by one of their parents. When the life of these children is not in danger, the police use other means to draw the attention of the public, such as posting information about the case on www.politie.nl, Burgernet or regionally targeted social media.