9 December 2015
New figures released by the National Crime Agency’s UK Missing Persons Bureau (UKMPB) show that police forces in England, Wales and Scotland are dealing with more than six thousand missing person reports a week.
Data for the financial year 2014/15 shows that there was an increase in the number of calls reporting people missing made to police forces – up to 315,000 from 307,000 in the year 2013/14.
Prior to 2013/14 there had been a steady fall in the numbers.
The report also shows that children and young people continue to account for more than half of all missing incidents.
Three quarters of calls are resolved within a day and 85% within 48 hours. The vast majority (96%) result in the individual returning without having come to any harm.
For the first time the figures for England and Wales include a breakdown of how many individuals were the subject of those calls. The 275,000 calls received by forces related to 137,000 separate individuals, meaning a number of cases involve people going missing multiple times.
Joe Apps, head of the NCA’s UK Missing Persons Bureau, said:
“These figures offer an important insight and demonstrate that we need to keep striving to understand the reasons why people go missing in the first place.
“Fortunately the vast majority of cases are resolved quickly and result in people returning safe and well, however we should remember that each involves an individual and can cause great distress to their loved ones.
“Missing episodes can be indicators of other vulnerabilities – including mental health issues, physical abuse or sexual exploitation, so we need to maximise our efforts to keep vulnerable people safe and support those affected by missing events.
“NCA UKMPB and police continue to engage in preventative work alongside the public and voluntary sector, particularly with regard to working with those who go missing on repeat occasions.”
The NCA’s UK Missing Persons Bureau is the only UK law enforcement body focused exclusively on missing people. The bureau serves police forces by providing expertise to assist investigations and helping resolve cases.
It is also the central point of contact for international missing person and unidentified body cases.
Full copies of the reports are available here.