Social media forms a big part of a new system to help police find abducted kids.
Social media forms a big part of a new system to help police find abducted kids. Claudia Jambor

Facebook to play a bigger role in finding abducted kids

SOCIAL media will play a bigger role in helping police find abducted children when a new system is rolled out across the state.

The NSW Police Force has joined Federal and State and Territory law enforcement agencies introduce the AMBER Alert system.

It will replace the Abducted Child Alert and Concern for Child Alert in NSW and introduce Facebook as a broadcasting and communication channel.

The AMBER Alert system will upload information about an abduction of a child to Facebook that will then automatically appear in users' news feed within a specified geographic radius set by police.

While child abduction incidents reported to NSW Police are rare, each incident is treated seriously.

Police Commissioner Mick Fuller APM, said time and information are crucial to the safe recovery of an abducted child.

"The ability to broadcast important details as a matter of urgency to a wide audience is critical for the timely return of a child to their loved ones,” Commissioner Fuller said.

"Social media is an invaluable tool and with over 15 million Facebook users across Australia, it is a vital resource to reunite children with their families quickly.”

AMBER Alerts are used when there is reasonable belief a child is at risk of serious harm and officers must have enough information about the child or abductor to share with the public to help locate the young person.

When an AMBER Alert cannot be issued, police will consider other means of seeking community assistance such as media releases, public appeals and the use of social media.