You don’t have to wait 24 hours before you report someone missing. As soon as you can’t find the person and you are worried for their safety and welfare, you can report them missing to the police. It’s important that you share all of your concerns with police. The earlier the police know about someone, the sooner they can start searching.
How do I report my loved one missing to the police?
We cannot report your loved one missing to the police on your behalf but we can help in other ways.
Of course, this depends on the person you are looking for. Looking for a young child, or adult who is unable to care for themselves, will be very different to searching for someone who would be at work or school, or who is able to travel.
Use your gut instinct. If you are seriously worried or you know they can’t take care of themselves, react quickly and call 999.
If you feel you can make some searches yourself and spend some time looking for them, do this first:
Call the police and let them know you want to report a missing person. They will ask you lots of questions. If you have time, it might be a good idea to write down some of your answers before you call, so you feel prepared. Read more about the things they want to know.
If speaking to the police might be difficult for you, or you’re not sure whether someone is missing or at risk, we can help. You can call or text us for free, 24/7 and in confidence. Call or text 116 000
Our helpline is here 24/7 for information, support and a listening ear. We can help by launching an appeal for your missing person, as long as the police have an open investigation. We are also here to hear your worries, to wait with you and to help you connect to other people who understand how you are feeling.
The person you are missing may not be considered vulnerable or be at risk, that doesn't mean you might not be worrying about them. It may be that there are other ways of finding them, if the police aren't going to start a missing investigation for them Your loved one may be missing abroad and it is not clear what the search will look like. We have brought together some information here, which might suit your search better.
If you have been out of touch with a family member for awhile and would like to be reunited, our Lost Contact tracing service may be able to try to help you reconnect.
Missing investigations may have different agencies involved in the search. There are police, government agencies and charities which help with the search for missing and out of touch people.
If the missing person is a British Citizen and usually lives in the UK, the police force wherever the person normally lives is responsible for taking the missing report. Make contact with them and explain what has happened If the person who is missing outside of the UK, is not a British Citizen, we wont be able to help with the search but there may be agencies who can.
Read more about our publicity opportunities that we may be able to offer you to help with the search.
Find out how the police will coordinate a search when someone is reported missing.
Read more about what you can do to look after yourself whilst you wait for news.
Discover what things you might need to do for someone if they have gone missing.
We know how traumatic it can be to have to report someone missing. We are here ready to provide confidential and free support. Find out how.
Hear about some of the reasons we know people decide to go missing, based on those who contact our helpline.