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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).

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