Not every missing child warrants an Amber Alert: Lethbridge Police Service explain the criteria behind issuing these alerts
A vehicle was stolen in Fort Macleod Monday night with a six-year-old boy in the back seat.
It happened around 10:30 p.m. and the boy wasn’t found until three hours later, in the vehicle about 40 kilometers from where it was stolen.
But unlike a similar situation in Saskatchewan, an Amber Alert was never activated, leaving many to wonder why.
“We didn’t have enough information on the fact of whether the child was abducted or whether the child was just in a vehicle that was stolen,” Fort Macleod RCMP Sgt. Bryan Mucha said.
An alert for a missing six-year-old North Battleford girl, who was also in a car that was stolen, was not only issued, but expanded to Alberta and Manitoba Sunday night.
However, it was cancelled Monday morning after she was found in the car and safely returned to her family.
According to Lethbridge police, there are three specific conditions that must be evident before an Amber Alert can be put into effect.
“There must be a belief that the child or adult is in immediate danger of serious injury or death, there must be enough descriptive information to be released to the public that must enable them to be able to identify the abducted person or the abductor or the mode of transportation,” Kristen Harding with the Lethbridge Police Service said.
“And, there must be a reasonable belief and expectation that the abducted person could be returned or the abductor could be apprehended.”
Fort Macleod RCMP said this case didn’t qualify under that provincial criteria and therefore an Amber Alert could not be issued.
RCMP also added that given the serious nature of an alert, the information of both the abductor and abductee must be clarified before being released to the public.
“We have to be very specific to what we’re looking for so that we’re not infringing on other people’s rights that may be driving a similar vehicle or that may be of a similar description to what we’re looking for in that case,” Mucha said.
Investigation into the recent Fort Macleod incident is ongoing.
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