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Missing persons

If you believe someone is missing and in immediate danger you should contact police. However there are a number of things that can try to do and find them before contacting the police. You being a close friend, family member or colleague are likely to hold the most information about the missing person.

Things that you can try

It is a traumatic experience when someone goes missing; however, it is critical that you take immediate action, especially when the person could be in danger.

  • Search their home or the place the person was last seen, in case the person is hiding or may have fallen and been injured. Remember that children can hide in very small spaces
  • Look out for any notes or clues that may suggest where they may be
  • Check to see if they have left you a message on your phone voice mail or email
  • Contact family members, friends and the person’s place of work to verify that they are actually missing and not simply somewhere unexpected.

It may be helpful to keep a record in a notebook of what you have done(including all phone calls) and anything that seems out of the ordinary or suspicious, to assist the police and help keep track of what still needs to be done. Most people who go missing return, or are found within 48 hours, with only around 1% still remaining

How can you report someone missing to the Police?

First hand reporting from a relative or friend is the most common way that Police are notified of a missing person. The Police will take reports of missing persons in any of the following formats:

  • Calls by telephone to a police station
  • By a visit to a police station
  • Contact with a Police Officer/Police Staff away from a police station

What happens when you report someone missing to Police?

Once a Police Officer has taken a report from you about the missing person, he/she enters all the information onto a computer at the police station and circulates the person as "missing" on the Police National Computer. Now that that information is on the computer any Police Officer nationally or internationally can contact us to find out more in-depth details.

Immediate enquiries are undertaken by the Initial Investigating Officer to try to find the missing person as soon as possible.

Should they still not be found then the investigation is passed onto a nominated officer within the police station who will now deal with all further enquiries that can be carried out.

What can they do?

  • The officer will firstly make sure that we have all the necessary details so that an efficient investigation can be conducted, these will include details of:
    • Details of friends or relatives,
    • Places that the missing person is known to frequent,
    • Health or medical conditions that they may suffer from,
    • Financial account details (such as bank account, credit and debit card details),
    • Details on any benefits that they may receive, and the location of where they may collect them from,
    • A number of recent photographs,
    • Events that could be linked with their disappearance,
    • DNA sample for subsequent forensic examination (i.e. toothbrush).
  • Officers will also need to search with your consent the home address to establish if there are any further evidential leads (this is a normal procedure).
  • Consent to publicity will also be sought from you. We have found that using the media to appeal for information can be very effective.

What can you do?

Police realise that this is a very traumatic time for you and that you need support and feedback from them, but this is also a time where you can help them by making many enquiries yourself. Please keep in touch with the officer in the case if you find anything out. We will work with other agencies to bring this incident to a swift conclusion.

Sometimes the adults who go missing may wish for their location to remain anonymous, and they do have that right which we must respect. We will always tell you if this is the case.​​​

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