Some ‘low risk’ incidents can quickly be resolved with the family and the missing person is found in a very short time. High risk missing people lead to an immediate emergency response by the police and can lead to large scale searches, just like the search in Burton Agnes in July when a 74 year-old woman went missing at a jazz festival.
When we receive a call to our command centre we have to quickly assess what the risk to the missing person is. Our priority is to find vulnerable people. That means the elderly, the young and those in need of medical attention. Other people are also classed as vulnerable, if someone has a history of mental health issues or been a victim of exploitation or abuse. No matter what the circumstances we treat each case on its own merits.
Our initial investigations will concentrate on a search the missing person’s home or last known address and the area where the missing person was last seen. We will try to contact them by mobile phone, and often conduct checks on their mobile phone or personal computer. We also look into their social media accounts and can check their personal diary if we think it might help us find them. If it is appropriate we will issue a media appeal for the public to help us find the person – our Facebook page is vital for this type of appeal as we can reach thousands of people quickly.
Whatever our response is it will be the most appropriate for each case. We want to get missing people home safely as quickly as possible and will take any action necessary, every second counts.
If you want to find out more about how the police handle missing person enquiries the second series of BBC’s ‘Reported Missing’ will air tonight at 9pm.” https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08mp809