A charity says more cases were recorded here than anywhere else, including London
A new study has identified Greater Manchester as the child abduction capital of the country.
A charity says more cases were recorded here than anywhere else and is calling for a fresh approach to the traditional ‘stranger danger’ warnings delivered at home and in schools.
Action Against Abduction’s figures show reports of ‘non-parental’ abductions logged by GMP increased by a quarter in the 12 months to March last year, from 108 offences to 133.
The charity said the ‘vast majority’ were unsuccessful ‘attempts’, but it’s the highest number of reports to any police force including the Metropolitan Police, which covers the London area.
The rate of cases in Greater Manchester is equivalent to 21.75 offences per 100,000 children – more than three times the national average and almost double the rate of the next highest forces.
The charity, however, said a greater police focus on grooming and child sexual exploitation cases could account for the marked rise – a theory backed up by deeper police analysis.
Greater Manchester Police said protecting young people was a ‘high priority’ and said the increase in non-parental abductions was reflected across the country.
Supt Joanne Rawlinson said high-profile operations launched to tackle child sexual exploitation have engaged with many people and ‘raised awareness of this abhorrent crime’.
Cases of parental child abductions, including children being taken out of the country, fell by four offences – from 13 to 9.
Action Against Abduction said all children naturally come into contact with strangers as they get older and claimed existing educational methods of ‘stranger danger’ cause ‘fear and confusion’.
The charity has developed a new aid called ‘Clever Never Goes’ to teach youngsters about potentially dangerous situations and that they mustn’t ever go anywhere with a person they don’t know.
The charity requested figures from all police forces under the Freedom of Information Act.