Presentation on theme: "CEOP, a National Crime Agency Command, London 12 th June 2014."— Presentation transcript:
CEOP, a National Crime Agency Command, London 12 th June 2014
Stranger Child Abduction in the UK (Craig Collie, University of Portsmouth) Police perspective - investigative challenges and community impact (Local investigations) (Charlie Hedges, CEOP) Police perspective - investigative challenges and community impact (Child Rescue Alert) (Charlie Hedges, CEOP) Offenders - what do we know, what don't we know (Helen Whittle, Behavioural Analysis Unit, CEOP) Prevention – beyond stranger danger? (Geoff Newiss, PACT)
Where are the gaps in knowledge?
Prevalence True number of abductions unknown (hidden by recording under other crimes e.g. rape or murder) Under-reporting of offences (e.g. why are offences/attempts not reported, how to encourage reporting) Drivers of increase/decrease in child abduction Influence and impact and increased opportunities created by the internet (any evidence of displacement from offline to online offending?) The abduction How to define opportunism? The offender may still have rehearsed and planned the event even if (s)he hadn’t planned to do it at that particular time Motivation (differences and implications e.g. gang; maternal; sexual) Any crossover/overlap with internal trafficking Attempted abductions (How do they differ to completed abductions? What can we learn from failed attempts? What are the consequences of attempts for the offender i.e. what does he/she do next?) Timescale of the abduction (opportunities to intervene/exploit) Geography of offences, locations (encounter, attack, release or disposal), distance travelled to and from offences ◦ Investigators don’t always know the abduction site ◦ A vehicle sighting might be one of the first lines of inquiry When should attempts be subject to a full and urgent police response? Differences between kidnap, false imprisonment, abduction, trafficking
The victim Understanding victimology and what that tells us about the offender Understanding vulnerabilities of victims ( lack of understanding of risk, opportunistic, etc) and relationship between vulnerability and opportunity Particular risk to/vulnerability of children from low SES families and children with disabilities and mental health issues or those with an autistic spectrum disorder Relationship between “missing” and abduction The offender Perceptions of threat based on offender characteristics e.g. gender, relationship to victim Offenders with no previous criminal record (Is this really their first offence? How do we find them? What was their journey from thought to action?) Characteristics of offenders – who commits these offences and can we extrapolate any information on the offender from the MO of the abduction? Relationship between online and offline offending Risk assessment of offenders and link to behaviour Predicting future behaviour Hidden identities and factors relevant/influencing their release
The investigation and prosecution When an abduction occurs, investigators might not know whether it is stranger abduction (or whether it is indeed an abduction), can research on the early stages of the offence/investigation identify signs/indicators of what has happened? Police response (Overt/covert; intelligence; public/private...) Outcome of case (e.g. influences) Prevention and intervention Prevention and intervention – what works? How effective has the sex offender register been and what has been its impact on abductions Rehabilitation of offenders Victim support by charities (e.g. good practice; are police aware of support services available for victims and families?)
Police perspective - investigative challenges and community impact (local investigations) Charlie Hedges, CEOP
“Stranger danger” – false perception of prevalence but you don’t want your child to be that one victim Media hype ◦ Parents want reassurance ◦ Insurance companies want to include abduction and Child Sexual Exploitation in their policies ◦ Need a middle ground between inaccuracy of there being “an offender behind every tree” and the other extreme of “it’s all hype” Something in the news somewhere in the UK every day – we lose the picture in crime reporting ◦ crime statistics report the most significant/serious crime which occurred in that event (e.g. homicide or rape) ◦ Could examine child murders and sex offences to see how many start with abduction ◦ Abduction is the MO, a means to an end
Danger in categorising all abductions together ◦ losing sight of differences ◦ missing more discrete and implicit behaviours/experiences ◦ E.g. rapists are not a homogenous group and by putting them all together, there is a danger that we will miss some of the detail
First challenge - All we know is a child is missing – we don’t know what has happened (runaway, abduction etc) Investigation can’t be channelled/focussed in one area alone too early on, has to be as broad as possible and all possible scenarios considered (e.g. abduction, runaway, accident) ◦ Balance verification and responding quickly ◦ What did the reporter see? Did they misinterpret what they saw? What is a stranger? Children can’t always tell the difference and the lines may be blurred in online relationships Police response might depend on whether offender believes he/she has been seen ◦ Respond in a way the offender would consider appropriate
Language/terminology of first report – can be difficult to work out exactly what happened ◦ Differences between police, public and media definitions/understanding of “abduction” and “kidnap” ◦ Reporter’s heightened state of arousal ◦ Age of the reporter (age of victim in attempts too) ◦ Important to have assessment of risk when the call comes in (as in missing cases), sometimes definitions get in the way ◦ First responder needs to be trained to elicit the information (lack of resources in this respect but it is better now than in the past) ◦ Better to “go high” immediately than “start low and fight way up”
How many attempts become actual abductions? ◦ How concerned should we be? ◦ We know about motivation for abductions but not in terms of attempts – is the excitement or thrill of the attempt enough? Often police are just not aware of them (not reported) ◦ Cases not necessarily dealt with effectively ◦ BUT it is difficult to deal with such cases Need to invest more time ◦ We deal with them a lot but know little about them ◦ Victim doesn’t know what the offender’s intention was We just DON’T KNOW whether they’re going to go on to commit a murder
Further guidance and good practice advice required for practitioners ◦ Difficult – some dislike the idea of “guidance” due to the risk of constriction of thinking, they want police to use their discretion and judgement ◦ There is currently no separate authorised professional practice on abductions – information is included in other manuals e.g. the Murder Manual Research concerning attempted abductions to understand prevalence, motivations and relation to successful abductions and other forms of offending Gathering intelligence from partners concerning attempted abductions (possible role for school liaison and community support officers) ◦ Consider age of victim – teenagers might be more likely to tell friends
How can we improve clarity of data? What are the key challenges?
Context needed in reporting of police stats Need to be clear about what type of data and what purpose – e.g. improve data for police intel and improve data for research ◦ There’s a difference between intel and statistical data ◦ Is it a realistic expectation for police to record all attempts/unreported events? Harmonisation of police recording procedures Prevalence surveys may be subjective (different perceptions/interpretations – public, police, children) Agencies/teams supporting the police don’t always receive case updates making evaluation of advice given and operational learning difficult
Who is involved in Child Rescue Alert cases? What are the main barriers and obstacles to working together? What is needed?
Who is involved? Police NCA Charities Media (social and traditional) Public Questions/challenges: How often should it be used? Branding vs “CRA fatigue” How to encourage people to sign up? Remit - should CRA inform the public and/or receive information from the public? What is the most effective way to present information to maximise the quality and relevance of leads from the public (e.g. most useful descriptors, best use of language)? How to make sure you identify the “golden nuggets”? How much is known from a risk assessment perspective (risk to child, reaction of offender)?
What is needed? Clear guidance to avoid duplication ◦ Training and policy in forces Needs to be used often enough that people feel comfortable using it but not so often as for it to lose impact – focussed use Ability to prioritise information as it comes in ◦ E.G. filter messages – did you see the child yourself? Need to be able to manage the response ◦ Cannot control the media ◦ More calls received following alert in UK than in other European countries Know what NOT to do, to avoid spurring the offender to harm the victim Research/greater understanding of false sightings and how to identify them
How can research translate into practice and assist in this area? How can research translate into practice and improve prevention strategies?
Graduation from non-contact to contact offending The inter-relationships between physical child abduction and other types of offending Is the abductor a different type of person to the “usual” sex offender? ◦ Assumptions about “type” of offender can derail investigation. Important that practitioners understand that they are not a homogeneous group Role of grooming – pre and post abduction Offender decision-making Types of MO Reoffending patterns Warning signs/behaviours Police decision making in focusing investigation Risk assessment Any influence/impact/increase in opportunities created by internet
Prevention and intervention strategies for offenders and victims ◦ The role/awareness of family members ◦ Computer technology developing at an alarming pace – training and awareness needed ◦ What factors encourage or discourage reporting? ◦ Environmental and educational approaches Treatment of juvenile sex offenders ◦ What is sexually harmful behaviour for children and young people? ◦ Early interventions and risk assessment ◦ How to encourage parents to seek assistance for their children?
Research is essential for practitioners but… There can be misinterpretation and cherry- picking of research findings by practitioners ◦ Academics need to ensure practitioners understand caveats/limits of findings – emphasise this Research needs to be written in such a way that it is easily accessible to practitioners There is a need to balance how much you say and what you don’t reveal (so you don’t educate offenders) There needs to be more collaboration between researchers/academics and practitioners ◦ Good practice – contracting/tendering for researchers to explore practitioner-identified research questions
Attempted abduction cases are mentioned via social media all the time even though completed abductions are rare ◦ It is not a “historic” problem as we are sometimes told How do we help children and young people to understand the risk from online and real world strangers? ◦ definitional issues e.g. what a child considers a “stranger” or a “friend” Need to consider children with learning needs and disabilities Behavioural skills training is most effective (Miltenberg & Olsen, 1996) – practice and rehearse skills ◦ Make children aware of different lures (e.g. sample, authority, incentive, etc) in broad sense (e.g. don’t have to do everything that an adult tells you) ◦ The earlier the better. PSHE curricula is not compulsory. Some schools might do it, others will not Building self-esteem and confidence in children and young people is important
Dr. Karen Shalev-Greene, Centre for the Study of Missing Persons, University of Portsmouth / Dr. Llian Alys, Chartered Psychologist and researcher (previously - University of Bedfordshire)