Adults and children go missing for all sorts of reasons, a significant number from care settings, and it can have a devastating impact on all those involved. As the police we, and our partner agencies, will do everything we can to find the missing person and provide them with the support and assistance they need.
T/Detective Superintendent Martin Buffoni.
You do not have to wait 24 hours to report a person as missing - a disappearance should be reported immediately if the person is felt to be at risk or unsafe.
Reporting someone as missing can be an upsetting and distressing experience.
We will ask you a series of questions to find out more information about the missing person and the events that led to them going missing. Depending on the circumstances of the person going missing, a police officer will visit you to obtain further information to assist us in looking for them.
We may suggest issuing an appeal to the media to help us locate them if we believe they are at immediate risk.
Children who are frequently missing from home are at an increased risk from Child Exploitation, becoming involved in crime or becoming victims of crime. We will prioritise searching for missing children.
If your child is repeatedly going missing from home it could be an indicator that they are involved in crime, drugs or alcohol. Knowing what your child's habits and normal behaviour is can help to identify risk factors.
Have they suddenly become more secretive?
Are they suddenly coming home with new clothes or other expensive items?
Have they recently had health problems that they didn't have before?
If your child's behaviour suddenly changes you might want to ask why, it isn't always sinister but reassuring yourself might help to alleviate some of your concerns.
There are sometimes occasions when someone will be reported as missing by a friend or relative but have simply left home and do not wish to return.
If you are an adult and the police are not looking for you in relation to a crime or legal order then the police have no powers to return you home against your wishes and have no legal obligation to disclose your whereabouts.
We would always advise you to make contact with friends and family to try to reassure them you are safe and well.
In such cases we will ask to speak to you in person so that we can check that you are safe and well, you can do this by meeting an officer at a convenient location or calling into a police station.