Child kidnapping in region double national average.
Byline: Paul Suart Staff Reporter email@example.com
CHILD abductions and kidnappings in the West Midlands ran at double the national average last year, worrying new statistics revealed.
West Midlands Police investigated 39 child abductions and 33 child kidnappings in the last financial year.
Figures showed 2.6 abductions and kidnappings of youngsters were reported for every 100,000 people in the region - twice the national average of 1.3 recorded by the Office for National Statistics.
The number of child abductions across England and Wales increased 11 per cent to 569 in the 12 months to April, the first rise in nine years.
The figures for the West Midlands were released under a Freedom of Information Act submitted by the charity Parents and Abducted Children Together Geoff Newiss, director of research at PACT, said: "These figures show the West Midlands is not immune from the problem of abduction.
"Abduction covers a broad range of offences, including custody disputes, grooming offences, stranger sexual abuse and revenge attacks."
The charity has received a grant from the People's Postcode Lottery to help launch the UK Child Abduction Hub.
"This resource gives information and advice and provides clarity to an often misunderstood issue," Mr Newiss said.
The Hub will act as a further safeguard in the Child Rescue Alert system launched by Kate McCann, the mother of missing schoolgirl Madeleine, on International Missing Children's Day in May.
The system allows parents to receive free alerts via text, email or social media if a child is taken in their area.
A spate of child abduction attempts were reported in Birmingham at the turn of the year. Three men were arrested on suspicion of attempted abduction after an alert in Great Barr in January but were later released without charge.