Abduction averted

broad streetThe attempted abduction of a teenager over the weekend has shocked residents of central Oxford.

The Press Bureau of Thames Valley Police stated that at 7.40pm on Saturday, a man approached a 15-year-old boy, in the city centre’s Broad Street, and grabbed him by the arm.

The boy managed to get away, and a 46-year-old man was later arrested nearby on suspicion of the attempted abduction of a child.

The man, who has not been identified, was released on bail until 2nd July. It is not known if the boy and the man who made the attack are known to each other.

Ella Bucknall, a first year English student at Merton who lives near to where the incident took place, commented: “It’s surprising and unsettling that it happened in broad daylight in the city centre. I always think of Oxford as a really safe place and I can be relatively complacent about ensuring my safety.

Stumbling home from a night out on my own once in a while just doesn’t really seem much of an issue. So to have such an incident actually occur during the day has made me feel much less like Oxford is the safe haven I thought it was”

Local residents have also been surprised by the public location of the incident, as well as the time it took place.

In the year 2011-12, there were 532 cases of child abduction reported to police in the UK, a small drop from the previous year, and a fall of nearly half from the 1,035 cases in 2004-5.

The incident follows a similar case of an attempted abduction of a small boy on the Blackbird Leys estate the previous Sunday, although it is not known if these two cases are linked.

In this case a man, thought to be between the age of 30 and 40 and more than six foot tall, approached the boy, understood to be under five years old, as he was playing outside in Overbrook Gardens, Blackbird Leys. The man then ran away after being discovered with the boy. Police are still searching for the man, and anyone with more information should call the non-emergency police line on 101.