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Case GeneralCreated: 12-11-12

How is the Missing Persons Bureau informed of cases?

Police/coroners inform the Bureau of unidentified person cases in accordance with the 2009 Code of Practice which states that the Bureau is informed if the person is still unidentified within 48 hours of being found. If the police/coroner believe they have an identity this notification may be delayed until this is confirmed.

How quickly is a case entered on the website?

This will depend on the police/coroner who may wish to carry out their initial investigations before giving permission for the case to be entered on the website. Some cases will not be included at all – see ‘What cases are included?

Can anyone enter details to the website? 

Only the Bureau will be able to add, amend or remove cases on the website although the notifying police force/coroner will retain ownership of the case information featured on the site.

Will cases always remain on the site?

Cases will be removed from the site following identification (or whilst identification is pending if requested). However where a case is successfully resolved, permission will be sought from the individual (if alive), the police force and the family of the individual to retain basic details of the case on the site.  The reason for this is to show the value of such publicity and provide reassurances to the families of missing individuals that work is on-going to identify these people.

Who has access to the information on the site?

The site is designed to enable interested individuals to obtain useful information about specific cases, and about the area of missing persons in general. It is not possible to prevent members of the public from copying information held on the site and reproducing it elsewhere. However, where concerns about the use of the information by a third party are raised to the Bureau, we will investigate the report and work with the third party to ensure the information is not used inappropriately.

It is intended in future that other websites may be able to draw a feed of the case information held on the site to promote the work of the Bureau and increase the scope of publicity. Any organisation or individual who wishes to do this will have to contact the Bureau to receive permission to do so and will be required to satisfy us that they will use the information responsibly.

Who is responsible for the case information?

The notifying police force/coroner will retain ownership of the case information featured on the site. The Bureau will manage the upload, amendment and removal of information on the police force/coroner’s behalf, but is not responsible for ensuring the accuracy of the information. Where inaccuracies or concerns are notified to the Bureau, contact will be made with the police force/coroner to confirm the remedial action to be taken. Cases may be temporarily removed from the site whilst this is being completed, and will be reinstated with the necessary amendments, if deemed appropriate.

What happens to the bodies if they are not identified?

If a body is not identified and there are no suspicious circumstances, the body is buried or cremated by the Local Authority in an unmarked grave. How long after the body is found depends on local practices in each police force area.

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