Police have ruled that a series of recent reports of alleged abduction attempts of children in Bromley in recent days do not appear to be linked, and “there is nothing to suggest a specific risk at this time.”
“Extensive enquiries’ have reportedly been made into a string of alleged abduction attempts in the borough, including an incident involving a small girl in The Glades shopping centre and incidents involving eight and 11-year-old boys.
Met Police say since receiving the first reports on April 30, they have been speaking with the children and families affected, checking CCTV, knocking on doors and speaking to witnesses and schools.
“At this time the cases are not thought to be linked, and so far we have not found any corroborating evidence that these were attempted abductions as reported. Officers continue with their investigations.”
The most recent incident happened at The Glades shopping centre in Bromley on Friday (May 7), when two men were said to have been walking behind a small girl, with one seemingly going to grab her hand – which was raised in the air – before walking off.
Superintendent Andy Brittain, from the local policing team in south London, said: “I understand the concerns of parents in light of these reports and the subsequent discussion and rumour on social media.
“We always advise parents to be vigilant when it comes to the safety of young children, however there is nothing to suggest there is a specific risk at this time.”
As reported by News Shopper previously, other incidents of a similar nature were reported on Friday, April 30, and Thursday, May 6.
Two happened on April 30, when an 11-year-old boy was approached by a man in a black van who asked him if he wanted a lift, while an eight-year-old boy was reportedly approached in the wooded area of Kelsey Park.
It emerged that Line of Duty Actor Sherise Blackman’s son was the 11-year-old boy reportedly targeted in that attempt after she posted about the incident on social media in a warning to other parents.
Several days later, on May 6, a boy reported staff at his school that he had been followed in the street by a man the previous day.
Police said that they did not believe the reports from April 30, May 6 and May 7 were linked.
Superintendent Brittain added: “You will continue to see officers out and about across Bromley and I would encourage the public to speak with them about any concerns they have. I would also suggest those living in the area follow the @MPSBromley account on Twitter, which is used by officers to engage with the community.
“Any alleged abduction attempt is taken seriously and thoroughly investigated, but thankfully, child kidnappings or abductions are incredibly rare.”
Superintendent Brittain said at the time that they were aware of the varying reports and “fully understand the concerns of parents.”
“I would encourage the public to remain vigilant, but not to be unduly alarmed.”
Anyone with information should contact police on 101 or Tweet @MetCC. In an emergency always dial 999.
To remain 100 per cent anonymous contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit crimestoppers_uk.org.