Metro police are running operation Identitykids as a measure to regulate and unite strayed children with their parents. This comes after more than 500 children were awaiting collection at numerous police stations after going missing at Cape Town beaches on News Years Day on Thursdau.
“We are running a project to deal with the missing children issue. This involves placing a bracelet on the child’s arm in the morning when they arrive with their parents and if the child goes missing throughout the day, we can reconnect them with their families to call the parents,” said the City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee member of safety and security Alderman JP Smith.
The operation includes the police placing a bracelet with a serial number (each has a unique serial number) on the child’s arm and if the child goes missing they can be identified and reunited with their parents by identifying the serial number.
“After looking at the bracelet, we can easily just call the parents on their cellphones during the day,” says Smith.
The main problem areas were Strand, Monwabisi, Strandfontein and Muizenberg beaches.
Despite swarms of people at the beaches and the large volume of children which went missing, Metro police managed to return 430 of the missing children to their families.
“When the beaches are densely populated we find it difficult to regulate and monitor the children. This proved to be a problem when we tried to reunite the missing children to their families. 70 of the children have still not been collected. We have handed them over to the South African Police Services as we cannot be the custodians of these children,” says Smith.
The children were allowed to stay overnight at the police station.
Missing Children SA spokesperson Nicky Rheede has a few tips for parents when taking care of their children or dealing with a missing child.
-When going to places especially to beache, parents should not let their children out of their sight.
-When out create a land mark preferably close to authorities so if the child does go missing, they can find you with the land mark.
-Parents should teach children their cellphone numbers so if they do go missing they can call their parents and reconnect with them.
– Inform as many people as possible about your missing child so if you are separated from them they can easily be found.
“The more eyes looking for your children, the better,” said Rheede. VOC (Nailah Cornelissen)