If a child goes missing, picture and information can be directly sent to the police
The Dutch AMBER Alert, a joint initiative of the KPLD (Netherlands Police Agency) and software company Netpresenter, has launched an AMBER Alert iPhone App (Netherlands only). Within three hours after the launch the App reached number 1 in the App Store. This free app allows anybody with an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch to help search for missing children. It also allows parents to store information about their own child or children, such as a picture, physical traits, length and weight. In the unfortunate event that your child goes missing, this information can be forwarded to the police.
The possibility to store pictures and other information regarding your own children is inspired by FBI’s Child ID App, hugely popular in the U.S. Like this app, the AMBER Alert App allows people to directly contact the police and gives advice on what to do when a child goes missing.
Of course, when an AMBER Alert is issued, users directly receive a push notification. AMBER Alerts are issued when the police believes the missing child’s life might be at stake. With the app, people can also see pictures of other missing children and send tip-offs about missing children, including pictures, directly to the police. The AMBER Alert App has been developed in collaboration with Zyrcadia.
Carlo Schippers of the National Missing Persons Bureau (LBVP) of the Netherlands Police Agency (KLPD): “When a child goes missing, every minute counts. It is extremely vital that the police has direct access to a recent portrait picture, one that bears a good resemblance to the child. Most parents keep a picture of their child in their wallet, but often these pictures are old, damaged and they can’t be easily forwarded. A digital image has a lot of advantages. Especially if it’s a recent picture and stored on a smartphone – most people carry it with them all the time – and can be sent to the police at the push of a button.”
“An app is the ideal way to make sure as many people as possible see the picture of a missing child as soon as possible. Last year, 65 percent of all phones that were sold were smartphones. It also works the other way around: if parents lose sight of their children in a shopping center or on a busy beach, the app allows them to directly send a recent picture to the police, the security at the shopping center or the lifeguard at the beach. That way, as soon as possible as many people as possible can help search for the child.” says Frank Hoen, founder of the Dutch AMBER Alert and CEO of software company Netpresenter. “We are convinced that smartphones are the future in locating missing children. The fact that the iPhone still is the most popular device for mobile internet in the Netherlands, shows that the development of an iPhone app is a logical first step.”
“The sooner the police has a good picture and the more people search for missing children, the higher the chance that the child is found in good health. Because of its dual function, this AMBER Alert App has direct positive influence on both aspects. We just had to develop this AMBER Alert App,” according to Michael Sannes, CEO at App development company Zyrcadia.
The AMBER Alert iPhone App has been extensively tested and guarantees user’s privacy. Pictures and information entered in the AMBER Alert App are only stored locally on the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch themselves, and not in a central database. Information regarding your own child is in no way communicated to the police, unless the user explicitly requests this. For instance when a child goes missing and a parent wants to send a picture of his child to the police.