Another early morning start but this time for a series of radio interviews to discuss the survey of MP’s and MEP’s. The survey shows overwhelming support for the introduction of a Europe wide sex offenders register. There is also support to implement a child rescue alert, using local media to inform the community when a child has been abducted and felt to be at serious risk.
There have also been calls for changes in the way child abduction cases are handled in Europe to provide the best expertise available, quickly to the investigating police force. We are uncertain if these measures were in place if it would have made any difference to us finding Madeleine. Kate and I do hope that future changes in legislation and practice will help prevent cases of child abduction and also increase the chances of successfully finding missing children in such circumstances.
Although very serious cases like Madeleine’s (stereotypical kidnapping) are rare, it is very difficult to determine the scale of the problem, as there is no consistency in data collection across Europe. We agree with two leading British Charities (PACT and missing persons) that such data have to be collected with greater accuracy so that the frequency of serious crimes against children can be reliably documented- ideally such data should be available across the EU. Europe is probably 25 years behind the USA in such regard. Change has been driven by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and by families who have suffered high profile child abductions.
Travelled back to the UK tonight to attend to a few personal matters before heading to Edinburgh. I have just heard about the shooting of 11-year-old Rhys Jones in Liverpool. This murder is such a tragic waste of a young life and our heartfelt sympathy goes out to Rhys family.