|Thursday, 10 February 2011 22:34|
In June 2010, two-year old Nisha Chandramohan went missing and the growing number of missing children and their fate is a cause of concern for the authorities and the community. Nisha’s case kicked off a two week pilot study to determine the best way to trace missing children by effectively disseminating information through the official medium and the grapevine. This will literally serve as the early child abduction alert system. While Nisha’s fate is not known, the beneficiary on the pilot study on her disappearance was another two-year old Lee Xin Ru who went missing on Sept 21, 2010.
Information on the missing child was posted through the NUR Alert (National Urgent Response Alert) system that provided a far and wide outreach to almost every level of the society. The speed that the Nur Alert team members responded and the vast area of coverage to lookout for Lee prompted the cabinet to dwell into the effectiveness of this system.
Looking for Missing Children
Within days of Lee’s disappearance her pictures and information on her made their way into numerous websites, television channels, ATM machines, blogs and electronic boards at the national entry points. The pictures come with an urgent message “HAVE YOU EVER SEEN THIS CHILD? If you have information regarding this child please contact Insp Haroza binti Pandi at 019-8793776 or Raub District Police Headquarters, Pahang 09-3552222”. Though Lee’s too is still classified missing, the notification method and the approach used to trace the child under NUR Alert has been adopted for other missing children under 12 as well.
How the Information Spread
NUR Alert will notify within seven days and not later than four weeks if the child is still not found, in Lee’s case, numerous mediums like the Astro Satellite TV still shows the child’s picture. PDRM will alert all members involved in the search to stop the notification in the event the child is found. If the child is still not found, the police will continue with their leads.
Why Under 12?
NUR Alert focuses on children under 12 as their problem is most likely not linked to complications like personal problems, running away from home, influence of third parties like boyfriends and etc that is often associated with runaway teenagers. The biggest concern over those under 12 who go missing is that they are kidnapped or lost or unintentionally get separated from the parents.
Protecting the Teens
Based on police statistics, more than 1,300 teens under 18 went missing over the last two years and are yet to be found. Theirs are often complicated problem unlike those under 12 with the teens often leaving home due to peer pressure, following the girlfriend or boyfriend, to seek freedom outside, misunderstanding with the parents or not interested in studies.