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Police 'tag' system reunites families

PUBLISHED: 15:48 28 April 2009 | UPDATED: 13:48 03 July 2010

A POLICE scheme to help keep children safe in busy places showed its worth when a number of missing children were quickly reunited with their families at the weekend.

A POLICE scheme to help keep children safe in busy places showed its worth when a number of missing children were quickly reunited with their families at the weekend.

The youngsters were some of around 3,000 children to have been 'tagged' by Norfolk Constabulary at the East Anglian Game and Country Fair, enabling organisers to quickly identified them and contact their parents.

The tamper-proof child wristbands have been used successfully by coastal police teams to help reduce the incidents of missing children over the summer period.

The water-proof bands carry Norfolk Constabulary and next-of-kin contact details and use a security tab system to quickly identify parents and carers.

There are plans to further roll out the system to allow schools, resorts and families to maximise children's safety in public.

Police staff who led the weekend's child security tagging operation at the Norfolk Showground experienced a high demand for the service over the course of the two-day event, many of whom expressed an interest in seeing the service made more widely available.

Police neighbourhood communications officer, Gemma Cooper, who helped staff the police stand, said: “Of the children who wandered away from their parents during the course of the event, the ones wearing the security wrist-band were very quickly reunited with their parents which lessened the distress for both the child and their family and the time spent by organisers trying to reunite them.

“The service was a big hit with many people asking where they could get hold of more.”

Event organiser Andy Grand estimated more than 50,000 people attended the event and the child tagging service gave parents peace of mind.

“I have two young children and there's nothing worse than losing sight of them in a crowd. The child security tags gave parents at the event the peace of mind that if their child did wander off, there was a much higher chance of them being found and returned quickly,” he said.

The system has previously been used successfully in the Wells and Gorleston areas and was last year introduced by Hunstanton and Burnham safer neighbourhood team to a number of beach and holiday resorts in north west Norfolk, where recorded incidents of missing children went from 10 in the previous summer period to none.

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