23 September 2019

Police set up taskforce to investigate child approaches after two more incidents

| Ian Bushnell
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Detective Superintendent Scott Moller addresses the media on Friday. Photo: George Tsotsos.

ACT Policing have launched a new taskforce in response to the spate of incidents where children have been approached, stalked, assaulted or grabbed across the ACT and in Queanbeyan.

Speaking to the media on Friday afternoon (14 September), Detective Superintendent Scott Moller revealed there had been 14 incidents reported since February, the latest two occurring within an hour of each other yesterday afternoon.

Taskforce Tydeus will draw on ACT Policing detectives and intelligence specialists to assess all reports both individually and as a whole.

As well as coordinating the investigation of reports, Taskforce Tydeus will conduct additional targeted patrols, including around schools.

Detective Superintendent Scott Moller said police are doing everything possible to keep children in our community safe.

“These incidents are particularly concerning as they have involved unknown men approaching and in some cases physically assaulting a child,” Detective Superintendent Moller said.

“Police continue to appeal to the public for any information in relation to people or vehicles acting suspiciously around children.

“While these reports have similarities, police are yet to establish a definite link.”

Around 4:15pm on Thursday (13 September), a girl was walking home in Banks when she was followed by a car.

Around 5:10pm, a young girl was riding a bike in Wright when she was approached by a man. He allegedly grabbed her on James McCauley Crescent and pushed her to the ground before fleeing the scene in a white van.

Detective Moller said there was no evidence that Thursday’s incidents were linked but the investigation was evolving and they would release a number of face-fit images in the coming days.

“At this point in time, there is no evidence to suggest these two incidents are linked however the circumstances of both reports are clearly concerning,” Detective Superintendent Moller said.

“I would like to stress the importance of reporting information to police immediately – the quicker police can respond and attend to an incident of this nature, the quicker they can target the area and surrounds.”

Police reiterated that no children have been harmed or abducted during the incidents and police would continue working with the ACT Education Directorate and schools across Canberra to address the situation.

If you become aware of an incident or notice anyone acting suspiciously around a school or child, contact police immediately on 131 444 or in the case of an emergency call Triple Zero (000).

Police are urging anyone with information that could assist to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or via the Crime Stoppers ACT website.

Please refer to Taskforce Tydeus. Information can be provided anonymously.

#This article first appeared on RiotACT

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