A child a week

A DUP councillor has vowed to highlight the worrying number of child abduction cases happening in Northern Ireland each year.

Garvagh MLA Adrian McQuillan, who is also a member of the Northern Ireland Policing Board, raised the issue after figures revealed that there is one child abduction almost every week in the province.

“It’s alarming to think that a child is being abducted almost every week in Northern Ireland,” said the East Londonderry MLA.

“These statistics are frightening and need highlighted.

“I’ll definitely be raising this at the next meeting of the Policing Board.”

Although the majority of child abductions are carried out by family members, usually a parent who has just split with their partner, a high percentage involve strangers.

While most abductions take place in Belfast and Londonderry, detectives have also investigated incidents in other areas including Coleraine, Antrim, Armagh, Ballymena, Fermanagh, Lisburn, Omagh and Newry.

A police spokesman said: “The protection of children is one of our top priorities and the PSNI work with a range of organisations and the community to ensure our children stay safe.”