Efforts to improve the speed of finding missing children will be bolstered with the introduction of a new social media alert system.
The AMBER Alert system will enable police to issue immediate 24-hour alerts on Facebook to people in the area where a child has been abducted from to give police access to an immediate broadcast response.
Information about the missing child will be sent out to Facebook users within a 160 kilometre radius of where the child was last seen.
Details will include a photograph, name, description and the circumstances of disappearance.
The AMBER Alert system was originally instituted in the United States and a similar system was been in place in Queensland for several years.
It is being rolled out across Australia, with Police Commissioners from all States and Territories adopting the system as part of a national agreement.
Police Minister Michelle Roberts said it is important to take immediate action to find abducted children and the AMBER Alert system would help improve boost those chances faster.
“The first hours after a child abduction are crucial and one of the most valuable things police can do is get information out to the public quickly,” she said.
“Thankfully child abduction in Western Australia is rare, but this gives police a critical platform to reach masses of people in the immediate hours after a child’s disappearance,” Mrs Roberts said.
“Anything which can give police the best chance of safety recovering and returning a child to their family is strongly supported by the McGowan Labor Government.”
WA Police Deputy Commissioner Gary Dreibergs said it was an opportunity for the community to assist police.
“This is the community being the eyes and ears for the police,” he said.
“The community will be out there working on the streets based on what they’ve seen on the Facebook alert.”
“Not only that, they can be actively involved by sending the alert to friends through the Facebook system.”
He said it is a strong cooperative effort with Facebook.
“Facebook are absolutely 100 per cent committed to it.”
Lenny Jacoby’s three year old son Joseph was inside a car that was stolen from outside the family’s East Victoria Park home said it was a strong community effort as a result of Facebook alert system.
“On December 2nd a large number of people in my local community were out searching for Joe alongside WA police. Why? Because they saw something on Facebook,” she said.
“A large number of people who I have never previously met who have spoken to me since and said it was a Facebook post that motivated them to go outside and have a look.”
She said the system would have a strong benefit to finding abducted children like her son.
“I have no doubt that they would use this new AMBER Alert system wisely as would all police operations centres across Australia,” Ms Jacoby said.