Hertfordshire Police received 29 reports of child abduction offences during a two-year period, latest figures have revealed.

The force confirmed that of the incidents between June 2019 and June 2021, 22 were reports of child abduction and seven were attempted child abduction.

Five were alleged to have taken place in Watford - more than any other part of Hertfordshire - three of which were this year.

There was also one in St Albans, two in Hemel Hempstead and another in Abbots Langley.

Watford Chief Inspector Ian Grout, referring to the town's incidents, said: “While it would be inappropriate for us to comment on the individual circumstances of each case as they are complex, I would like to reassure the community that none of these cases involved a child or teenager being taken by a stranger against their will.

Times Series: Four of the incidents were alleged to have taken place in WatfordFour of the incidents were alleged to have taken place in Watford

“In all incidents the involved parties were known to one another, either due to being in a relationship or having a familial/friend connection.

"All children involved have been safeguarded and supported."

A spokeswoman confirmed that one of the Watford incidents, which occurred in March this year, resulted in a man being charged and enquiries are ongoing.

In October 2019 another incident resulted in a charge and conviction.

Two others happened in January and April this year, but no further action is being taken because of "evidential difficulties", according to the force.

The fifth case was in July 2019, following which a man was arrested and later released without charge after the victim's family withdrew support for police action.

CI Grout said: "Thankfully, cases of stranger child abduction are very rare in the UK but on the sad occasions they do occur, they rightly attract a huge amount of interest from the public and the media.

"We have a dedicated team of police officers, detectives and investigators in our Safeguarding Children team, who are devoted to doing all they can to keep children in Hertfordshire safe from harm."