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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 a need to continually publicise these unidentified cases to maximise the possibility of families/friends who have lost contact with people, or reported them missing, seeing the details of the case and recognising 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.
When was the website established?
The website was launched in November 2012.
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) have already displayed images (forensic artists’ impressions) of 20 railway deaths as part of 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 following 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 Colorado State 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 the identification of their cases.
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 of missing persons to feel they are playing an active part in searching for their loved ones.
How does the website help the police?
It provides a further tactical option in the quest to identify people, providing the same publicity and appeal opportunities for unidentified cases as other sites (such as http://www.missngpeople.org.uk) provide for missing people.
How many unidentified people are found each year?
Each year we record around 120 unidentified body cases, and we have approximately 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 what cases have been featured.