Reporting someone missing

A disappearance should be reported immediately if the person is felt to be at risk or unsafe.

If you think that someone you know is missing, the police should be your first point of contact. You can contact them on 101 or visit your local police station. 

If the missing person is a child, or you think that they are at serious risk of harm, call 999. 

If speaking to the police might be difficult for you, or if you're not sure whether someone is missing or at risk, we can help.

You can call us for free, 24/7 and in confidence on 116 000.


Call, text or email 116 000

Missing People's helpline is free, and availble 24/7. If a friend or relative has gone missing and you need support and advice call or text 116 000 or email

Confidentiality policy

Missing People is a confidential service and we cannot trace your calls. Please see our Confidentiality Policy.


We recognise that many people are affected when someone goes missing, and we support both the families and friends of missing people. Where the word ‘family’ is used on this website or at any time to describe the charity’s services, this also includes friends and loved ones.


A missing person can be reported to the police at any time, you do NOT need to wait 24 hours before making a report.

To report someone as missing, contact your local police station in person or by phone. In an emergency you can contact 999.

You can report to your own local police station even if the missing person lives in another part of the UK.

If there is any reason why speaking to the police might be difficult for you, please contact us first for support. Phone our free 24 hour helpline 116 000 or fill out our online form.  Police must use our police form.

Is your loved one at risk?

If not arriving at their place of work or study, or not returning home is out of character, the case should be referred to the police immediately.

If you’re not entirely sure that someone is missing, or at risk, contact our helpline for advice. But if you have any doubts, contact the police immediately.

A missing person may be assessed as ‘at risk’ if they fit one or more of the following categories.

The missing person:

  • Is under 16 or over 65 years old
  • Has expressed feelings of suicide
  • Suffers from senile dementia or Alzheimer’s
  • Has been acting totally out of character
  • Suffers from mental health issues?
  • Has been suffering from increased stress
  • Is suffering from an illness or a physical disability
  • Has a learning disability
  • Is in need of regular medication/care
  • Is an addict

 What information will the police ask for?

When reporting somebody missing, you will be asked for some details to assist the police in their assessment and search. These may include:

  • Personal details about the missing person; full name, date of birth, home address, employment details.
  • Details relating to the disappearance; your last contact with the individual, what they were wearing when they disappeared, any details relating to possible reasons behind their disappearance.
  • Any factors that might put the missing person at risk, for example; the missing person is under 18, has physical or mental health issues or has a drug or alcohol dependency.
  • Police may ask for personal items belonging to the missing person if they are left behind, for example; mobile phones, diaries, laptops. Police are also likely to want to visit the person’s address to carry out a routine search.

If you don’t have or are unsure of any of the details mentioned above, do not panic. Information may be found via other family members, and somebody’s date of birth can be obtained from the General Register Office. 

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