KUALA LUMPUR: Although making announcements of missing children through social media such as Facebook and WhatsApp can help the authorities to locate them, it must be done carefully to protect the safety of the children and their respective families.
Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department director Datuk Seri Abd Jalil Hassan said parents or members of the public who wish to make such an announcement must use the right platform.
He explained that parents must first lodge a police report and let the police make the announcement through a system which has specific standard operating procedures (SOP) to ensure that the information is disseminated widely through the right mechanisms.
“The announcements will only be made with the written permission of the parents after the investigation found that there were no elements of hostage that can pose a threat,” he told Bernama.
Abd Jalil said the announcements should only contain information such as the missing child’s photograph, name, report number and the telephone number of the investigating officer.
According to him, the police are working together with the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry to develop a National Urgent Response alert system, dubbed Nur Alert, to deal with cases of missing children under the age of 12 in the country.
“The announcements through NUR Alert will only be made by task forces approved by the police, such as Facebook, banks, and telecommunication companies,” he said adding that, so far, NUR Alert has 41 members from various agencies.
Meanwhile, crime analyst Datuk Seri Akhbar Satar said publicising cases of missing children through social media was a fast and efficient way of disseminating information that could facilitate search operations.
“But, it is also advisable for the parents to lodge a police report immediately so that police can take immediate action. Parents should also seek advice from the police on what information they should reveal to the public to trace their missing children,” he added. – Bernama