21 December 2015
British men are being urged to take extra care over the festive period, as preliminary findings from an ongoing study show that they are most likely to go missing on a night out - often with a fatal outcome - between the months of December and February.
The ‘Men Missing on a Night Out’ study is a collaboration between the Department of Geography and Geology at Kingston University and the National Crime Agency’s UK Missing Persons Bureau (UKMPB). So far, 97 cases have been identified where men were found dead after going missing on a night out in the UK, between January 2010 and August 2015.
The winter months of December, January and February accounted for over half (53%) of fatal disappearances, with one fifth (21%) going missing in December alone. Of those that went missing in December, five men were described as being on a work Christmas party and five went missing on New Year’s Eve or in the early hours of 1st January.
The NCA’s UKMPB are encouraging men to look after their friends and ensure one another get home safely whilst out drinking and partying over the Christmas period. It is important to be extra vigilant if drinking in bars and clubs near rivers, canals and basins as the findings show that 89% of men that died after going missing on a night out were found in water.
Joe Apps, Manager of the UK Missing Persons Bureau at the National Crime Agency said:
“The missing person stories forming the basis of this newly collected data are a powerful and timely reminder of the dangers of excessive drinking, especially at Christmas and New Year’s Eve parties.
“All 97 cases identified in the study relate to men that have gone missing, so it’s important that this group of people take special care. Look after your friends and get them home safely.”
Missing persons cases such as these can often take a long time to resolve, leaving families in limbo. Of the cases identified in this study, 43% were missing for more than one week and up to one month before their body was discovered, with 20% missing for over one month.
Geoff Newiss, project leader and Honorary Fellow at Kingston University said:
“It’s a tragedy for any family to have a husband, son or brother go missing on a night out and then be found to have died. But it’s made a lot worse when families are left wondering what’s happened to their loved one for weeks and, in some cases, years.
“One of the key goals of this project is to identify steps to reduce delays in finding missing people who have died which will help give anxious families and friends some closure.”
The full findings from the study will be reported in late 2016.