What will the police do if someone keeps going missing?

When someone goes missing more than once this would be considered as ‘repeat missing’ by the police. Going missing regularly can be a sign that a person needs more support and sometimes it can be a sign that they could potentially be at risk.

Repeat missing

In some cases, when a person goes missing frequently, the police will work with other agencies to make a plan which outlines what the agencies will do to support the missing person to decrease their missing episodes and who is responsible for what action when they do go missing. Even if someone goes missing on more than one occasion, it does not mean there is any less concern for their wellbeing from the police and other agencies.


If your missing person is a child this might mean the children’s social care are involved as well as your child’s school and in some cases health partners. All partners should be working towards safeguarding the child and should involve the child’s parents. If you are a parent of a child that is going missing regularly you can ask to be kept updated with which agencies are involved and what they are doing. You may be able to attend multi-agency meetings to better understand what is happening. Some families have told us they have had to advocate for their child: this means fighting for relevant agencies to become involved and keep taking action. This can be really tiring and difficult for parents. You can speak to our helpline team if you are struggling to know what to do on your child’s behalf.


If your missing person is an adult it is unlikely that you will be involved with multi-agency conversations unless the adult has given explicit permission for you to be, or if the person lacks capacity. You can speak to the police about what they are doing but they may be limited in how much they can tell you due to adults’ rights to privacy.

When anyone goes missing repeatedly the police should still take each incident seriously and should see the person each time when they return from missing. If you feel like the police are not taking appropriate action or do not understand the risks facing your person you should ask to speak to a senior officer about your concerns.


Talk to us

Sign up to be a Digital Search Hero

We have launched a regular email so that you can be aware of new missing person appeals and share them far and wide! We are also calling on all Heroes to be the eyes and ears for Missing People on the ground. Your sighting of a missing person could make a difference in a crucial time.