If you are concerned that someone has gone missing, there are steps that you and the police can take towards resolving the matter.
What should you do if someone goes missing?
If you are worried that someone may have gone missing, you should first make your own enquiries as to their whereabouts. This should involve contacting anyone who you think they might be with, or who might know where they are. If you have done so, but remain concerned, you should contact your local police station immediately. You can report a missing person to the police by telephone, by visiting your local station, or through contact with a police officer away from the police station.
What can the police do if someone is reported missing?
Once a person has been reported to the police as missing, they will circulate the relevant information and flag the person up as ‘missing’ on the Police National Computer. This information will be available to all police forces across the UK.
To ensure that they have all relevant details to allow them to carry out an investigation, the police may ask for the following information to be included within the report:
- photographs of the missing person;
- details of friends and/or relatives;
- places that the missing person would normally frequent;
- details of any events that may have prompted the person’s disappearance;
- financial account details;
- any health problems;
- details of benefits that they may receive and where they collect them from;
- something that a DNA sample can be obtained from, such as a toothbrush.
The police will normally ask for your consent for them to search the missing person’s home address. They may also ask for your consent for them to publicise the case, as appeals for information in the media may produce leads or further evidence.
Where else can you go for support?
There are several charities set up to offer help finding missing people, or to help people who have gone missing. You may wish to contact one of these for further help and support:
- Missing People Charity – this charity runs three confidential helplines:
o Missing People: offers help to missing people and those who have been left behind on 0500 700 700.
o Runaway helpline: for anyone who has run away from their home or forced to leave on 0808 800 70 70.
o Message Home: this enables missing people to contact family and friends by calling 0800 700 740.
Missing People Charity also generates publicity by making appeals through the media and raising the profile or the missing person.
- Missing Kids Charity – this charity holds a database of missing children and can offer support and advice to parents of missing children. If you are concerned that your child has gone missing, you should report this to the police, as only they can add new cases to the database.
- Forever Searching and Railway Children – two further charities offering support to families of children who have gone missing.
You should be aware that if the police find a missing person, but they do not give permission for their location to be disclosed to friends and family, then the police would not be allowed to pass such information on. However, they can let you know that the missing person is safe.