Belfast Telegraph

Shock figures reveal one child is abducted in Northern Ireland every week

Hundreds of children have been snatched from the streets of Northern Ireland during the past five years, a Sunday Life investigation has revealed.

And police are struggling to bring the culprits to court — with just a third of all cases being cleared.

Since 2006 a total of 230 children have been abducted by adults, many of whom are total strangers. Since April of this year 24 children have been snatched in Northern Ireland.

That’s an average of 46 abductions each year — almost one a week — yet police are solving just 32 per cent of these crimes.

Unlike the high profile May 2007 case of Madeleine McCann, who went missing on a family holiday in Portugal, few of these cases have been made public in the media.

The majority of abductions have taken place in Belfast and Derry.

Detectives have also investigated incidents in more rural areas including Antrim, Armagh, Ballymena, Coleraine, Fermanagh, Lisburn, Omagh and Newry.

The PSNI has insisted they are doing everything in their power to ensure children are safe on the streets.

A police spokesman said: “The protection of children is one of our top priorities and the PSNI work with a range of organisations and

the community to ensure our children stay safe.”

But Sunday Life’s findings have worried politicians, with one DUP Policing Board member vowing to raise the issue at its next session.

“It’s alarming to think that a child is being abducted almost every week in Northern Ireland,” said East Londonderry MLA Adrian

McQuillan. “These statistics are frightening and need highlighted.

“I’ll definitely be raising this at the next meeting of the Policing Board.”

Although the majority of child abductions are carried out by family members, usually a parent who has just split with their partner, a high percentage involve strangers.

Last month Bangladeshi national Shidul Islam, 43, was arrested and charged with trying to snatch a youngster from close to his east Belfast home.

Source Sunday Life

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