Through a partnership with the Ministry for Home Affairs and National Security and the Police, Facebook users in Malta will from now on receive specific alerts on their timelines whenever a child is abducted or is reported missing and is at imminent risk of harm. Facebook is the latest organisation to join Malta’s AMBER Alert system, a nationwide alert setup for endangered missing children and child abductions which was launched on the 10th of January 2017.
The partnership was launched during a press conference held on Tuesday 7th March at the Police GHQ in Floriana, addressed by Carmelo Abela, Minister for Home Affairs and National Security; Supt. Dennis Theuma, who heads the Malta Police Force’s Vice Squad; and Emily Vacher, Facebook’s Director, Trust & Safety.
AMBER Alert Malta is a cooperation between the Ministry for Home Affairs and National Security, the Malta Police Force, and nonprofit organisation AMBER Alert Europe. An AMBER Alert is an emergency message the police issues when a child is abducted or has gone missing, and the police fears that the life or health of the child is in danger. The message is subsequently relayed by partner organisations.
“Facebook’s partnership is a valuable addition to the recently launched AMBER Alert System in Malta, which is an effective way to use the power of our community in a bid to save children’s lives,” said Minister Abela. “The earlier the search begins and the bigger the number of people alerted, the better the chance of finding a missing, endangered child. Facebook being the most popular social networking site in Malta, its decision to team up with our Police Force means that, in the eventuality of a missing endangered child, more people will be able to get involved in the search in those crucial first hours.”
Join the search to save missing children
The Minister said that AMBER Alerts can be more successful if citizens are repeatedly informed of a missing, endangered child case. If they receive the information via different channels, the chances that someone recognises the child increase. In this light, he encouraged even more potential partners that are in a good place to help the Police bring alerts to the public’s attention, to join Facebook and the other partners in this deserving initiative. The list of stakeholders having already teamed up with Malta’s AMBER Alert System are APS Bank, Facebook, Gozo Channel, Illum, Malta International Airport, Melita plc, Net News, Newsbook, One, PBS, Radju Marija, The Malta Independent, Times of Malta, Transport Malta, and Vodafone Malta. In the coming weeks, the Police will, in collaboration with these and new partners that will have come on board, issue a mock AMBER alert to test the system while showing the public how the system works.
Minister Abela also called on more individuals and organisations to sign up via Amber Alert Malta’s website (amberalert.com.mt), which is available in Engish and Maltese, to receive updates and alerts, in so doing being able to join the search for a missing endangered child.