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What to do if someone goes missing

If someone you know has gone missing and you believe there is an immediate danger to them, you, or someone else, then you should always call 999.

You can also report someone missing by calling 101, or visiting a police station.

What to do if someone goes missing

When someone you know goes missing, it is a very traumatic experience. There are a number of things that you can do to help find them as soon as possible:

  • Report their disappearance to the police. If you believe they are in danger, call 999. If you don't believe there is an immediate danger, call us on 101
  • Search their home or the place where the person was last seen, in case they have fallen or are ill or injured
  • Think of areas that they are known to visit and search there
  • Look for any notes or messages that may suggest where they have gone
  • Contact family members, friends, and the person’s place of work, to verify that they are actually missing
  • Note down everything you have done including phone calls and anything out of the ordinary

Find out more about what to do if someone with dementia goes missing

What will police do

The initial officer or call handler will make sure they have all the necessary details so they can find the person as quickly as possible.

The details will include:

  • their last known whereabouts
  • details of friends or relatives
  • places the missing person is known to visit
  • events or circumstances that could be linked with their disappearance
  • a description of them and what they were last seen wearing
  • a recent photograph
  • details of health and medical conditions
  • contact details and financial account details

Officers will also ask you for permission to search the home address to establish if there are any further leads, and may also ask for permission to publish details of the missing person in the news and on social media (Facebook  and/or Twitter)

Depending on the case they may carry out CCTV enquiries and check with local hospitals, as well as searching areas where the missing person is known to visit.

Several resources from the force are used in missing person investigations. This includes the force control room, community officers, response officers, and the dedicated missing people co-ordinators.

We also work closely with partners to ensure missing people receive the help and support they need when found. This helps reduce the chance they will go missing in the future. 

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