Facebook, NZ Police launch AMBER alert system for missing children

Update: 5:10PM THE New Zealand Police and Facebook today launched AMBER Alerts system, which quickly notifies the public, through as many channels as possible, when a child is missing and is at immediate risk of harm.

New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said the AMBER Alerts system was a valuable new tool for Police to have access to.

“There have only been a very small number of abductions involving children in New Zealand’s history, but other situations, such as where a young child goes missing from home and is at serious risk of harm, occur more regularly,” Mr Bush said in a statement issued by NZ Police today.

“When these sorts of incidents do happen, Police takes them very seriously and will consider every option available to us to locate a child we have extreme concerns for.

“Having the AMBER Alerts system means we now have another useful tool to quickly contact the public in emergency situations.

“If we can use it to help save even just one child, then it is a system worth having.”

Facebook’s Trust and Safety director Emily Vacher said keeping our community safe meant everything to the team at Facebook.

“We are proud to partner with New Zealand Police to make AMBER Alerts available to help children and their families. When a child is missing, the most valuable thing we can do is get information out to the public as quickly as possible,” Ms Vaher said in the same statement.

“By getting the right information to the right people at the right time through AMBER Alerts on Facebook, we hope to reunite missing children with their families faster.”

Once the alert is activated, people who are part of the Facebook community in the targeted search area will receive a notification at the top of their ‘News Feed’.  

People could then choose to share the alert with their Facebook friends to help spread the word.

The alerts include a photograph of the child, any important information about the circumstances in which they went missing, and an indication that there is an active search going on.

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