Child rescue alert system uses email, social media and digital billboards

An enhanced Child Rescue Alert system for the UK has been launched, which allows alerts to be issued via text, email, social media and digital billboards the minute a child is reported missing and centralise all possible clues and leads from the public, increasing the chances of a safe return.  

The CRA System has been developed by registered charity, Missing People and the National Crime Agency’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) command. Parental communication specialist, Groupcall, has provided the technology behind the system which will run on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform.

Members of the public can sign up to receive alerts for free at, the website Groupcall set up in order to collect registrations. Registrations are collected via Microsoft Azure, which allows scaling to be implemented in order to cope with high demand during publicity events.

Once an initial report of a missing child reaches the police, they immediately begin their investigation.  Following consultation with the National Crime Agency’s CEOP command on-call staff, if all criteria are met, they inform Missing People that an alert is required and pass on all the necessary details for the alert to be created.

Missing People then enters the data into the system ready to send SMS, emails, data to media partners (including OMC) and awaits authorisation from the police. The investigating police force prepares the telephone lines for operators to receive responses, then give instruction to Missing People to launch the CRA. Google Maps API is used to immediately collate the contact details for everyone in any given area who has registered for alerts. Missing People then activate the Child Rescue Alert.

The alert is received instantaneously by all registered users and media partners. Emails move swiftly down the media chain, for example to the Press Association and media partners, so they can present the Child Rescue Alert on news bulletins or on digital advertising billboards. SMS texts and emails go to members of the public who’ve registered in the local area. Social media activity sees posts on Twitter and Facebook.  Push notifications are also sent to phones where users have downloaded the Child Rescue Alert free app.

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