Child kidnap reports increasing concerns
East Belfast remains on high alert this week as reports of suspicious incidents and failed kidnapping attempts continue.
Last week the Community Telegraph revealed there had been three attempted kidnappings and one suspicious incident. Since last Thursday there have been a further three incidents.
On Sunday two separate incidents allegedly occurred, one involving a 13 year-old girl and one a 5 year-old girl. A 10 year-old boy was also approached in Clarawood last Thursday.
The PSNI have refused to confirm how many incidents have been reported nor have they substantiated any information except to say a silver car, possibly an Audi, with a number of men in it has been involved in suspicious incidents.
East Belfast Chief Inspector Yvonne Davidson said: “We have no evidence to suggest this is the work of an organised gang or a child trafficking ring.
“We have no evidence to say it’s one person, a group of people or people from a particular part of the community. There have been a number of reports.
“I’m not going to get into figures, because we have to make sure everything that has been reported is accurate,” she added.
DUP Councillor Gavin Robinson said he had been “gravely concerned” about the reports.
He added: “Thankfully on each occasion, the children have said “no” and have refused any attempt to lure them into unsafe surroundings.”
UUP Councillor Michael Copeland said the continuing reports were causing great concern.
He added: “I have spoken to the PSNI and believe they are doing everything they can with the resources available to them.
“However, the general public have a very definite role and parents must ensure that children are not left unsupervised and that anyone who sees anything suspicious should and must report it to the police.
“Children are among our most valuable asset and they should be allowed to grow up free from the fear that grows from these incidents.”
The PSNI has still not confirmed it will be stepping up patrols in the area. However CI Davidson said: “Following these incidents we have taken proactive steps.”
UUP Councillor Jim Rodgers, chair of east Belfast District Policing Board said: “I met with senior police officers on Friday, and it has been suggested there could be more than one car involved.
“All primary and secondary school principals in the area have been contacted by the police.”