The role of the Missing Persons Unit
We provide support and advice to police forces investigating missing person cases and assist in the identification of bodies and remains.
Our extensive experience in dealing with missing person and unidentified body investigations provides an essential service to police forces and can help resolve cases that may otherwise remain outstanding. This can save police forces significant time and resources, and provide the friends and family of missing and unidentified persons with vital closure.
We also maintain a central national database of missing persons and unidentified cases. This national database provides a unique function enabling the cross-matching of outstanding missing individuals with unidentified people, bodies and remains.
The range of services we provide to police forces include:
- National and international cross-matching of outstanding missing individuals with unidentified people, bodies and remains
- Co-ordination of enquiries with our network of partners
- Procedural assistance around effective retrieval and retention of forensic material
- Tactical advice and support to suspicious cases, such as suspected homicide and no-body murders, and cold case reviews
- Access to specialist advice from experts in a range of fields
- Collation and dissemination of good practice in missing person enquiries
- Provision of training to police forces on missing and unidentified case investigations
Search our database
Police and members of the public can review a central national database of unidentified people and bodies cases and submit details regarding the potential identity via our online reporting form. We will acknowledge the email within five working days.
Depending on the quality of information provided however we cannot guarantee that the force or coroner will be able to investigate further, or how long the investigation may take.
Report a missing person
If someone you know has gone missing unexpectedly please report to your local police in person or by using the 101 service. In an emergency, always call 999.
If you recognise an unidentified case after searching our database, please complete our online form providing as much information as possible. Even though they may not have been reported missing if there is enough information to indicate a potential match then the police will still investigate accordingly.
A number of people who have lost contact with family and friends may decide to report them missing after reviewing our website. There is a difference, however, between a missing person and a lost contact case and police forces do not deal with the latter.
There are a number of reasons why people lose touch with each other, such as moving house or family conflict, and it is understandable that they seek to reconnect; however if there is no indication of vulnerability or concern then this will be considered a lost contact case and police will not become involved. Instead there are a number of tracing agencies who may be able to provide a service:
- Missing People Lost Contact Tracing Service can assist with locating and contacting relatives who you have lost contact with.
- The British Red Cross International Tracing and Message Service provides advice on finding family members separated by conflict, disaster or migration overseas.
- The Salvation Army Family Tracing Service exists to trace relatives who have lost contact with each other, either recently or in the past.