What the police will do if you go missing?
If you are reported missing the police have to make contact with you to check that you are safe, well and not at any risk of harm. The scale of their investigation will depend on your own individual circumstances and how much risk or danger they believe you to be in. Remember the police don’t want to force you to go home. They simply want to check that you’re okay.
Going missing is not an offence. Adults over the age of 18 have the right to go missing unless they have been detained under the Mental Health Act, or are legally in the care of another person. You will not be in any trouble for going missing unless you are wanted for a crime.
Download our guidance sheet 'The Police Investigation' for more information.
What Missing People will do if you go missing?
If the police ask us, or agree to a family request for us to assist in the search for you, we will make and distribute posters in the area you went missing. We may also share these posters on our website, social media sites, at our events and in local and national media such as newspapers and magazines.
What if I want you to stop looking?
The police will only close their investigation once they have made sure that you are safe and not at risk of harm by completing something called a ‘Safe and Well Check’ with you. This ‘check’ doesn’t have to be completed at the place you went missing from. Talk to us, we can help and support you and we can explain the processes of this ‘check’ in more detail.
Another way we can help through this process is by setting up a ‘three way call’ with a police station so we can support you as you get answers to any questions or concerns you have about dealing with the police. Remember this call will be free from mobiles, landlines or a phone box, and the number you are calling from won’t be displayed to us or the Police.
Once the police have closed their case, our publicity will automatically stop and anyone displaying a poster will be asked to take it down immediately. If you want to talk to us about this because you have seen yourself on one of our appeals, then get in touch. We can talk you through how this works and we won’t expect you to tell us who or where you are.
Find out more about...
- Some things to consider before you leave
- Talk to us, we can help you
- Other agencies who can help you
Download our guidance sheet 'Are you thinking about going missing?'