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How many people go missing?Created: 31-10-12
The UK Missing Persons Bureau publishes its annual assessment of missing and found persons today.
The new report includes figures provided by forces across the country on the number of missing person incidents reported to the police in the financial year 2011/12. This data shows that during this period approximately 858 missing reports were made every day, or that someone was recorded missing by the police around every two minutes.
Data from police forces shows:
- 313,000 missing persons incidents were recorded by police in Britain in 2011/12, a reduction of 14,000 reports based on 2010/11 figures
- Some people go missing more than once and approximately 192,000 individuals went missing in 2011/12 compared with 216,000 in 2010/11
- Children and young people under 18 made up 64 per cent of missing incidents, down 2 per cent on 2010/11 figures
- 15-17 year olds were reported missing most frequently
The report also includes more detailed information from a sample of police forces on how long people go missing for, where they go missing from, the distance away missing people were found from home, the circumstances while missing, who they were found by, how they are risk assessed and how many are found dead.
This data is used to measure the extent of missing and unidentified incidents in England and Wales. High level figures from Police Scotland are included. This is vital to missing person investigations as it helps police, local authorities and non-governmental agencies make informed decisions to find missing people and support their families. The data is also used to drive policy and operational practice implementation.
Joe Apps, Manager of the Bureau said: “There is a welcome reduction in the numbers of missing people in comparison to previous years. This is likely to be due to consistent safeguarding response to those who go missing and an increase of better partnership working.”
Sean Sutton, Head of the Crime Analysis Unit said, “This report, for only the second time now, gives policing and its partners a full picture of the extent of missing persons in the UK. This type of baseline data is crucial to ensuring the correct strategic allocation of resources and to see historically how the UK is succeeding in protecting it’s, often most vulnerable, citizens from the dangers of going missing.
Notes to editors:
This report was produced by the UK Missing Persons Bureau while it was under the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA). On 7th October 2013, the Bureau will form part of the National Crime Agency (NCA).
We value your opinion. Please take the time to complete our questionnaire.
- How do I contact the press office?x
How do I contact the press office?
Contact the National Crime Agency press office on 020 7979 5835.
- How many unidentified persons are found each month?x
How many unidentified persons are found each month?
Each month we record around 15 unidentified body cases and we have about 1000 cases on our database.
- How will the website help the police?x
How will the website help the police?
It provides a further tactical option in the quest to identify people. It will bring the same publicity and appeals for unidentified people as existing sites do for missing people.
- How will the website help families?x
How will the website help families?
It will bring closure to families and friends if an individual is identified. It is hoped it will also empower the families to feel they are playing an active part in searching for their loved ones.
- Has this been done before?x
Has this been done before?
A similar UK website was previously maintained by the charity Missing People. However, due to a reduction in resources, this was removed in 2009.
In addition, British Transport Police (BTP) has already displayed images (forensic artists’ impressions) of 20 railway deaths as part of our Operation Kharon, a joint initiative to obtain details of all outstanding unidentified people/remains. These images have been on BTP’s public facing internet site, as well as receiving significant media coverage of the cases at a press conference in August 2010.
There are currently three similar sites in the USA: The Doe Network, NamUs (US Department of Justice site) and a ColoradoState website. Furthermore, European forces such as the Swiss and Belgian Police already have unidentified people/remains details shown on their websites in order to assist with identifying their cases.
- Why is this site needed?x
Why is this site needed?
Although many unidentified cases receive local or national publicity at the time they are found, this publicity may be short lived, and experience has shown that the families and friends of these people may not see or fail to recognise the significance of this initial publicity. There is therefore a need to continually publicise these unidentified cases in order to maximise the possibility of families/friends who have lost contact with people or who have reported them as missing seeing the details of the case and recognising that the individual may be their missing relative/friend. The website also provides members of the public with a means by which to suggest possible identifications in a clear and simple manner through communication with the Bureau, the details of which can be initially reviewed without additional burden on police forces.
- What cases are included?x
What cases are included?
All unidentified cases, including bodies, remains and alive individuals found in the UK will be eligible for publicising on the website. However, cases within the categories outlined below will generally be excluded from inclusion unless specifically requested by the force/Coroner involved:
- Babies (aged one year and under)
- Murder investigations (or where this is suspected)
- Partial remains where it is deemed there would be little value in publicity (e.g. single bones)
Other cases may also be considered inappropriate for the website, although the intention is to publicise cases on the site unless there is a reason not to.
- What do these statistics mean?x
What do these statistics mean?
The statistics are based only on the cases featured on the website and do not give a full picture of the number of unidentified bodies, remains or alive persons found and identified in that force area. Some forces have chosen not to publicise cases on the website so their results will always show as '0' even though they will have unidentified records in their area. The 'Total closed cases' will only refer to unidentified bodies, remains or alive persons identified since being on the website, meaning that on the date of launch the figures will all be '0', this does not reflect the national picture of identifications made within force. Forces are only required to notifiy us of unidentified bodies, remains or alive persons if they remain outstanding for longer than 48 hours but if identification is made before the case appears on the website then it will not be included in these statistics.
Please see 'What cases are included?' for further details on what cases have been featured.