Police intensified patrols in South East London after children were followed or approached by men in four separate incidents in one week as schools prompted concerned parents to tell their children to be on high alert.
Scotland Yard detectives accepted parents have genuine concern and worry about the spate of incidents which occurred when two boys were approached separately by a man in Bromley on April 30 between 4 pm and 4.40 pm.
An 11-year-old boy, who’s the son of Line of Duty actress Sherise Blackman, was asked by a man in a black van on a road if he wanted a lift, while an eight-year-old was approached in the nearby wooded region of Kelsey Park.
The Metropolitan Police got another report on Thursday of a male school pupil being followed by a man along a street on the preceding day, but a lack of similarities indicated it wasn’t connected with the first two reports.
The latest incident, which is again not thought to be connected to any of the other three reports, involved a third person reported of the perceived attempted abduction of a young girl at The Glades shopping centre.
Two men were said to have been walking behind the girl when one appeared to try to grab the girl’s hand, which was raised in the air, before walking off. No children were kidnapped or injured in any of the four incidents.
Now, police have written to local parents via schools, urging them to warn their children of the personal safety advice they’ve been given and to report anything suspicious immediately to a parent, guardian or school staff.
They added that they understood the real concern and worry that the nature of the incidents had brought to them and their family, but they assured them that they were working jointly with their schools to give added support and advice.
And they said that they would encourage the public to remain alert, but not to be unnecessarily alarmed, and that child kidnappings and abductions were, thankfully, incredibly rare, but that they were not complacent.
They said that to provide reassurance to the community, they’ve raised their visible presence in regions where youngsters may gather and that they advised anyone who feels anxious or concerned to approach their officers.
And that they would strongly encourage members of the public to approach their officers if they have any concerns or have any information that could prove to be advantageous to their investigation.
It comes after the Met apologised to Ms Blackman after she criticised the force, and said they were failing to properly investigate the attempted abduction of her son.
The actress, who appeared as firearms officer Ruby Jones in the BBC police drama Line of Duty, said her son was walking home from school when two men on the street and another man in a black vehicle attempted to grab him.
Sadly London is so intimidating now, and the legal and justice system is a farce, and our Police force is held back by politics and bureaucracy to gratify their masters, rather than serve the public who pay them, and the police need to locate these people because they appear to be up to something sinister.
And a serious shift in the law needs to take place before a child is harmed or even disappears, but it would also help if the public were given some description of these men, and what will it take for the police to take this sort of thing seriously?
And many of our police are afraid of their own shadow and should have continuous training, particularly when a crime has previously been reported, and it’s about time we had beat cops walking our streets and school zones, and not ones that are afraid of their own shadow!