CONCERNED parents who set up a Facebook group following a series of attempted child abductions are calling on the local authority to change its policy.

The group was started to raise awareness after seven children aged between eight and 12 were approached in Joydens Wood, Northfleet, Gravesend and Dartford.

Police are linking all four reported accostings, which happened between January 13 and 30, to a white man in his 30s who drives a silver car.

Parents on the online group, which has more than 5,000 members, are angry they were not told about the incidents sooner.

They also want Kent County Council to change its response policy and send out a letter to all parents informing them of any attempted accostings rather than leave it to the discretion of headteachers.

The council’s area education officer, Simon Webb, said: “That won’t happen because any response by any school has to be proportionate to the level of alert.

“We would send out a letter within the immediate locality of where an incident’s happened but it doesn’t need to be any wider than that.

“We don’t want to cause any unnecessary alarm.”

However Mr Webb says in future where there are multiple incidents involving one suspect, all schools will now be instructed to tell parents.

Co-creator of the group Lee Karnovski, who has three children which attend schools in Gravesend, said: “To me and 5,000 other parents that’s not good enough.

“When there’s one incident police report to the LEA they should immediately send out a blanket letter to the whole of Kent to make sure children are aware of stranger danger because there are people travelling around who don’t stick to one area.

“Eventually it’d be good to have it nationwide. It would mean children everywhere have that extra chance of being safe.

“It’s so important we protect our kids.”

Leonora Buyers has an 11-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son who go to St George’s Church of England Secondary School and Wrotham Road Primary School in Gravesend.

She found out about the incidents on February 4 and criticised schools for not telling parents and pupils earlier.

The 51-year-old said: “If the schools have known about this as long as the police have, they should have told parents and pupils earlier.

“Our children's safety is at stake.”

Amelia Forder has a six-year-old son who attends King’s Farm Primary School in Gravesend.

The 27-year-old said: “Parents are wary but there’s not much they can do.

“Everybody’s talking about it.

“Most let their children run a few yards ahead of them but not now, because they know it can just take a split second.”

The Facebook group, which has even had update messages from the police, has drawn praise from Mr Webb.

He said: “What they have done is brilliant, I can’t praise them enough because they have done more in two weeks than the police or local authority in 10 years.”

Anyone with any information about any of the attempted accostings should call police on 01474 366180 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.