Someone is recorded as missing in the UK every two minutes, according to new figures released by the National Crime Agency’s UK Missing Persons Bureau.
The statistics, which relate to all incidents recorded by police in England, Wales and Scotland for the year 2012-13, show that although the overall number fell slightly compared to the previous years, forces still dealt with 306,000 incidents – an average of 838 a day.
Analysis of the figures shows that most cases are likely to be resolved quickly, with 89 percent of those recorded as missing being found within 48 hours.
Additionally, the vast majority end with no harm coming to the individual, with almost 97 percent likely to be found safe and well.
But almost two thirds of cases (64 percent) involved children and young people, with the 15-17 age group being reported missing most frequently.
Joe Apps, head of the NCA’s UK Missing Persons Bureau, said:
“These figures offer an important insight and the year-on-year fall in missing persons reports is obviously welcome, reflecting the good preventative work that is being done.
“However, we should remember that each case involves an individual, and missing episodes can be indicators of other vulnerabilities – including mental health issues, physical abuse or sexual exploitation.
“Because of this we need to work closely with our partners across law enforcement and the public and voluntary sectors to maximize our efforts to keep vulnerable people safe and support those affected by missing events.”
Chief Constable Pat Geenty (Wiltshire Police), National Policing Lead for Missing Persons, said:
“I welcome the news from this report that there has been a small reduction in the overall number of missing persons which continues the recent trend.
“However, we must all remember that behind every ‘missing’ episode there is an individual with their own life history which will have contributed to them becoming a missing person.
“Consequently, we will continue to work with our partners in central and local government; fellow law enforcement agencies and crucially our partners from the third sector like Missing People to improve the service to missing persons and their families. We are collectively working to prevent people from going missing by addressing the underlying causes; protecting those who go missing by providing a tailored, risk-based response and providing missing people and their families with enhanced support and guidance.”
Clare Cook, Head of Campaigns at the charity Missing People said:
“If someone you loved went missing, wouldn’t you want the world to stop and look for them? These new statistics show that someone goes missing in the UK every two minutes, affecting hundreds of thousands of people every year.
“We know that the public have an important role to play in finding and reconnecting missing people and would encourage everyone to help. One of the easiest ways to join the search is by following Missing People on Twitter and Facebook and sharing our appeals – it takes a couple of minutes and makes a real difference in bringing these people to safety.”
The report covers missing persons and unidentified bodies reported to the police in the period 1 April 2012 to 31 March 2013.
The UK Missing Persons Bureau is part of the NCA’s CEOP Command. The bureau is the UK national and international point of contact for all missing person investigations and provides support, expertise and advice to police forces in order to resolve cases. It also maintains a national database of missing persons and unidentified cases.