Child Rescue Alert (CRA) is based on an American concept called “AMBER Alert” and was first piloted by Sussex Police following the abduction and murder of Sarah Payne. CRA is intended to alert members of the public to the abduction or other high-risk disappearances quickly, and to provide a mechanism for policing to be able to receive and prioritise critical information. Evidence suggests the police are the trusted source for information dissemination, and for a CRA to be successful the host force must have the ability to secure, risk assess and action the incoming information.
CRA is a partnership between the police, the media and the public that seeks the assistance of the public where it is feared that there is a real, immediate risk to the life of a child. The aim is to quickly engage the entire community via all media channels in the search for the child, offender or any specified vehicle through reports of relevant information to the police. The CRA has flexibility in its use as it can be used in a targeted way in one or more geographic locations, immediately be activated on a national level, or be grown as the information received or the level of media response dictates.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) Investigations Command manages and is responsible for the delivery of CRA on behalf of UK policing. The NCA offers advice and operational support when a force is considering such a tactical option with 24 hour tactical advice.