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Child Rescue Alert

Volume 406: debated on Wednesday 4 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what discussions he has held with Sussex police about continuing to work with the Community Alerts; [114722](2) how many police officers in Sussex have registered with Child Rescue Alert;. [114977](3) what estimate was made of the number of likely subscribers to the Phase 2 text message service of Child Rescue Alert, piloted by Sussex police; [114975](4) how much money has been spent on publicising Child Rescue Alert by Sussex police. [114976]

Office officials have held discussions with both the Sussex Police and the Association of Chief Police Officers about various aspects of the Child Rescue pilot. The discussions have not addressed the arrangements between the force and organisations that have been contracted to help provide the service.I understand from the Chief Constable that every Sussex Police-owned mobile phone was registered at the beginning of the scheme, a total of 1,687 phones. There was also an internal publicity drive to encourage staff to register both private and family members' phones. This marketing drive also explored links with external community partners and consequently a substantial number of mobile phones owned by East Sussex County Council, Brighton and Hove Council and West Sussex County Council have been registered.I further understand that, on the basis that some 700,000 people in the county have mobile phones, the force estimated that approximately 300,000 people would register for the Phase two text message service. It conducted its largest ever leaflet distribution campaign, in conjunction with Neighbourhood Watch, which resulted in some 15,000 people registering initially. This number may since have increased.The Sussex Police estimate that they have spent approximately £19,000 on publicising the scheme between 25 September 2002 and 1 May 2003.