Unidentified case searchRun advanced search
We value your opinion. Please take the time to complete our questionnaire.
- How do I contact the press office?
- How many unidentified people are found each year?x
How many unidentified people are found each year?
Each year we record around 120 unidentified cases, and we have about 1,200 open unidentified cases on our database. Not all of these are shown on this site. Please see 'What cases are included?' for further details on which cases have been featured.
- How does the website help the police?
- How does the website help families?x
How does the website help families?
It will bring closure to families and friends if an individual is identified. It is hoped it also empowers 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 those identified which have been featured on the website, and does not reflect the national picture of identifications across the UK. Forces are only required to notifiy us of unidentified bodies, remains or alive persons if they remain outstanding for longer than 48 hours, and it is common for further investigation to be undertaken before they are featured on the website. 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.
- When was the website established?x
When was the website established?
The website was launched in November 2012.