Police Services and Local Authorities

The charity Missing People has 25 years’ frontline experience and provides a range of services for police handling missing person investigations and local authorities, including taking referrals for family support, making Publicity Appeals and sending supportive text messages to missing children and adults (TextSafe®).

Family Guidance

If you feel it is appropriate, please direct families of missing people to our family guidance sheets which offer advice and information about what to do when a family member goes missing.

Missing People represents all that is good about keeping people safe and partnership working.


 

Chief Constable Mike Veale, national policing lead for missing people

 

116 000 Rescources

The 116 000 posters below are available to download and display. 

The 116 000 posters are in A3 format and so are quite large files: 8 MB each.

30126 missing 420x297 2.pdf

30126 missing 420x297 3.pdf

 

Your questions answered on how Missing People work with the police

 

 

About Missing People

Who are you?

Who regulates you?

Where do you get your funding from?

You say you are available 24 hours a day, are there times when you have to close?

Providing Publicity

Which missing persons investigations can you assist with?

What information do you need when we refer a case for publicity?

Will we still have control over the level and duration of publicity?

If a family do not consent to publicity, but we ask you to do it, what will you do?

Will you still do publicity if the person is 'wanted' for a crime?

Will you assess the sightings you get on our behalf?

Data and Confidentiality

How do you store data and keep it safe?

How do you verify someone's identity, eg when passing a message?

If you speak to a person who is missing, do you tell the police?

Do you have a secure email address that we can send information to?

 Why don't you tell us automatically when you speak to a missing person?

Why won't you tell us if you've heard from a person who has received a TextSafe?

What if we (the police) tell you something that the family do not know about the missing person enquiry?

Working in partnership

Which other police forces use your services?

What is the difference between you, the UK Missing Persons Bureau and CEOP?

Do I still need to refer a family to you for support if they have a Family Liaison Officer (FLO)?

Unidentified bodies

Can I submit a list of unidentified bodies to you for cross-referencing with your database?

Honour-based violence

How do you work with victims of Honour-Based Violence (HBV) and those escaping forced marriage?
 

 

 About Missing People

Who are you?

We are a non-judgemental, highly skilled team of staff and volunteers working around the clock for everyone who needs us: missing children, adults, their families and our partner organisations.

We provide free 24-hour confidential support, help and advice by phone, email, text and online, including the opportunity to reconnect. We also coordinate a UK-wide network of people, businesses and media to join the search for the estimated 250,000 people who go missing each year.

Professionals, families of missing people and missing people themselves can contact us using the details below:

Call: 116 000

Text: 116 000

Police can email securely: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Who regulates you?

As a national independent charity we are regulated by the Charity Commission and our registered charity number is 1020419. The charity’s services are accredited by The Helplines Association which defines best practice in helpline work and our 116 000 European hotline number was awarded by Ofcom, the independent communications regulator.

Where do you get your funding from?

Missing People is an independent charity funded by donations. The charity’s income is sourced from individual donations, partnerships, trusts and some government funding, including from the Home Office and Department for Education. We also receive funding from the European Union.

The charity recognises that we are currently unable to meet demand for our services on an income of £2.4 million per annum and has agreed a bold ambition to grow to £3million.

You say you are available 24 hours a day, are there times when you have to close?

We run a 24-hour service 365 days a year. There are occasionally times when we are forced to close for short periods such as in the case of staff sickness. This is extremely rare and we try everything we can to prevent this from happening. If we are closed, callers will hear a message or receive an auto-reply which tells them when we will be open again and gives phone numbers of other organisations that can be contacted, such as Childline and Samaritans.

Providing publicity

Which missing persons investigations can you assist with?

We can help with publicity and family support for all missing persons investigations regardless of risk assessment. As set out in the cross-Government Strategy for Missing Children and Adults, you should ensure that all families of missing people are automatically signposted to support services such as ours. We would ask you to tell the family about us and encourage them to contact us, whatever the circumstances of the case.

What information do you need when we refer a case for publicity?

A full description and photograph of the missing person, as well as the circumstances of their disappearance, would be needed. We also require details for the police contacts running each case and should be told whether there is a family we can offer support to. We will then need to maintain close contact as the investigation progresses to know where to send sightings and information from the public. 

Will we still have control over the level and duration of publicity?

We will discuss with you what publicity is relevant and will make sure all publicity is cancelled as soon as you inform us that the person has been found or returned, or if circumastances change.

If a family do not consent to publicity, but we ask you to do it, what will you do?

Thankfully this is a rare occurrence, and the short answer is that we listen to the guidance of our police colleagues in this situation.

Best practice, according to ACPO guidance 2010, says that family consent should be obtained before publicity is carried out. We will expect police to have obtained this consent prior to our publicity campaign becoming ‘live’.

If police override a family’s decision not to consent to publicity, in keeping with ACPO guidance, we will usually act on the request of police. We would only challenge this if we felt strongly that the decision to override the family was inappropriate or unreasonable.

Will you still do publicity if the person is 'wanted' for a crime?

We will only search for a person where the primary reason for looking for them is their welfare.

Therefore, if the missing person also has an outstanding arrest warrant, we will ask police to decide whether their concern for the person's welfare outweighs their desire to apprehend the person for a crime. Where the former is true, we will decide on a case-by-case basis whether we can help police look for the missing person.

Will you assess the sightings you get on our behalf?

No. We will simply record the information and send it to you.

It would be inappropriate for us to grade the relevance of sightings since we do not know all the details of the investigation.

Data and confidentiality

How do you store data and keep it safe?

Missing People has a clear data protection policy and guidelines for all staff and volunteers and provides training to ensure good practice across the organisation. You may see it if you wish.

Missing People keeps records of some of its contacts with service users, in order to provide the best service possible and to manage and monitor its service.

We make sure that the information we hold is as accurate as possible. We do not hold more information than we need, and we do not hold it longer than we need to.

Our email is secure (CJSM) and the referrals section of our website is (https) which is also secure.

For more information on our data policy please email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

How do you verify someone's identity, eg when passing a message?

We ask them for their full name and DOB before speaking with their nominated family member.

If you speak to a person who is missing, do you tell the police?

We provide confidential support, help and advice, including the opportunity to reconnect, to people who contact us when they are missing. We work closely with the caller to explore the best options for them. For example, we help people who are missing to contact the police, with their agreement.

We only disclose information about a missing person without their agreement where we consider they are at serious risk of harm. This is in line with our safeguarding policy.

In most situations, we would always seek to inform the person involved before we disclose information, and we will always give a reason for our disclosure.

Why don't you tell us automatically when you speak to a missing person?

In our experience, some of our callers are individuals who have deliberately chosen not to speak to police/a social worker/family. This is sometimes due to fear or a misconception of what will happen next (e.g. Forced to go back, arrested for the ‘offence’ of going missing, decisions taken out of their control). In our experience, these anxieties are what keep vulnerable missing people hidden and, thus, in unsafe situations.

By giving the caller the space to discuss their options confidentially, we usually find that they are better able to unpick their situation and be helped to make a choice which may reconnect them with a place of safety.

It is the skill and experience of our call takers which means that in many situations we are able to take action which safeguards the caller, with their consent, leaving our relationship intact should they ever need us again.

There are naturally times when we are unable to establish consent. In this case, if we have enough information to know the location of the individual and we are in possession of information which – were we not to share it – may lead to the person coming to harm, we will breach that caller’s confidentiality and contact either the police or social services.

Why won't you tell us if you've heard from a person who has received a TextSafe?

TextSafe® is a way of us reaching out and proactively offering our help to missing people when they are most vulnerable. When they receive the message, they instantly know how to call, text and email us and that we are free and confidential. Some people will choose to act on this and others will ignore it, a little like if they had seen a poster about us or noticed the information about us in a phone box.

If they choose to get in touch – via any means – we will not know who they are or how they heard about our organisation. It does not matter! They will be provided with the same service we give everyone who contacts us (see the question on confidentiality for how we manage this).

An easy way to think of TextSafe® is as a means of offering that person a safeguarding opportunity by telling them about Missing People, rather than as a means for you (the police) to contact the missing person.

You should feel confident that, if the missing person contacts us after receiving a TextSafe®, we will support them to explore their options and safely reconnect (as explained above).

What if we (the police) tell you something that the family do not know about the missing person enquiry?

There are times when you may wish to tell us things which need to be kept confidential from the family in the interest of the investigation. If you feel you need to share this information with us it is important that you clearly state that it is confidential information so that we can make a record of this. When deciding what information to share, ask yourself the following questions;
•will this help Missing People to support the family emotionally?
•will this assist them in carrying out publicity for this individual?
•will this assist them in making a safeguarding decision if the missing person makes contact with them?
•will this assist them with managing a likely increase in calls? (e.g. Some significant new information has come to light and is about to break in the media)

Do you have a secure email address that we can send information to?

Yes, you can email us securely on: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please note that it can take up to 10 minutes for CJSM messages to be received in either direction. 

For more information on our confidentiality policy please email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

Working in partnership

Which other police forces use your services?

We support families and assist in the search for missing people from every police force in the UK, without discrimination. Naturally, some forces have got to know us better over the years and refer to us more regularly.

We have developed a Memorandum of Understanding which forces can sign up to, acknowledging the spirit in which our organisations should work together. The number of forces currently signed up is continually growing and our Partnerships Team are the best people to speak to about how to get involved or find out more. You can email them at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

What is the difference between you, the UK Missing Persons Bureau and CEOP?

Missing People is an independent charity funded by donations. We work in collaboration with a range of partners across the UK, including local police forces, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS).  We can offer a range of services to support police missing person investigations.

The UK Missing Persons Bureau is the national centre for the exchange of information and the coordination of missing persons enquiries and unidentified body cases. Their purpose is to find those who are missing and to safeguard vulnerable people both nationally and internationally. The Bureau is part of the National Crime Agency and they provide tactical support to police investigations utilising their national missing and unidentified person’s database. They can also provide details of other experts, such as national search advisers, CATCHEM (National Suspicious Misper Adviser) and other specialists.  More information on the Bureau is available on their website at:

http://missingpersons.police.uk

CEOP (the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre) has responsibility for national missing children's services. They also host the Missing Kids website where missing children appeals are publicised. When you refer a missing child to us for publicity they will automatically appear on both our website and the Missing Kids website and 116 000 will be the number the public are encouraged to call with sightings and information.

All three organisations work closely together and Missing People has strategic agreements in place with both CEOP and the UK Missing Persons Bureau.

Do I still need to refer a family to you for support if they have a Family Liaison Officer (FLO)?

We would ask you to still tell the family about us even when a FLO is working with the family, so that they can choose if they want to contact us, as we can provide independent emotional and practical support.

Unidentified bodies

Can I submit a list of unidentified bodies to you for cross-referencing with your database?

Yes, but we will require you to pass this request via the UK Missing Persons Bureau who are the national agency responsible for this. Where resources permit, we will gladly assist with cross-matching.

To discuss this with the UK Missing Persons Bureau you can contact them by calling 0845 000 5481 or emailing them at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Honour-based violence

How do you work with victims of Honour-Based Violence (HBV) and those escaping forced marriage?

We take calls, texts and emails from victims of HBV and forced marriage who are often relieved to have a confidential space in which to explore their options.

Our data protection and confidentiality policies and procedures mean that an abuser should not be able to access a victim via our services.