In 2015 Action Against Abduction sent Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to each police force in the UK. The FOI requests asked forces to provide the number of parental child abductions, non-parental child abductions and child kidnappings recorded in 2014/15. The returns were compared to the same data for 2012/13 and 2013/14 published last year.
- This statistical paper reports the key findings:
Overall there were 1,141 child abduction and kidnapping offences recorded in 2014/15 by police forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
- There were large increases in non-parental child abductions (47 per cent) and child kidnapping (18 per cent), though police-recorded parental child abduction decreased slightly. It is likely that many parental child abductions are not reported to, or recorded by, police.
- The explanation for these increases may – at least in part – lie in changes to police crime-recording practices. Some incidents which may previously have gone unrecorded may now be recorded as a crime.
- Police force initiatives to tackle child sexual exploitation may also be having a sizeable effect on trends in recorded crime, as might efforts to intervene in forced marriage and domestic abuse. Without further research it is not possible to say whether the underlying incidence of child abduction and kidnapping is increasing.
- There is enormous variation between regions and police forces in the number, and rate, of child abduction and kidnapping offences. A relatively small number of police forces have recorded a large proportion of the increase in offences.