While taking to the social media to seek help when there is a missing child seems to be an effective way, the police have advised them to refrain from taking matters into their own hand without first consulting the police.
According to Bernama, Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department director Datuk Seri Abd Jalil Hassan said this is to protect the safety of the children and their respective families.
He explained that parents who wish to make such an announcement must use the right platform and follow a set of specific standard operating procedures (SOPs) to ensure that the information is disseminated widely through the right mechanisms.
Thus, he advise parents to immediately lodge a police report as soon as they learn that their child is missing.
Abd Jalil said the police will then conduct their due diligence to ensure that any information released to the public will not jeopardise the victim’s safety.
“The announcements will only be made with the written permission of the parents after the investigation found that there were no elements of hostage that can pose a threat,” he said.
He also said that the announcements made should only contain information such as the missing child’s photograph, name, report number and the telephone number of the investigating officer.
Abd Jalil said the police had been working closely with Women, Family and Community Development Ministry to develop the National Urgent Response (NUR) Alert system, to specifically deal with cases of missing children under the age of 12 in the country.
“The announcements through NUR Alert will only be made by task forces approved by the police, such as Facebook, banks, and telecommunication companies,” he said, adding that the NUR Alert system is manned by 41 members from various agencies.
“But, it is also advisable for the parents to lodge a police report immediately so that police can take immediate action. Parents should also seek advice from the police on what information they should reveal to the public to trace their missing children,” he said.
Between 2020 to February this year, a total of 1,509 children were reported missing, with 85 of the victims yet to be found.