Missing People welcomes the HMIC 2016 Report into Police Effectiveness, especially the focus of HMIC on ensuring forces around the UK are responding effectively when children go missing.
It is heartening to see there has been improvement in how many police forces risk assess and respond to missing children, and that officers and staff better understand the links between children going missing and being sexually exploited. However, we are concerned with the report’s finding that in some force areas, not enough is being done to respond quickly and effectively to missing and absent children – leaving these children at risk of harm.
We are particularly concerned that some forces are not properly recording or responding to children categorised as “absent” ( at no apparent risk) because these children are at particular risk of falling through the net without safeguarding or support. Our briefing paper "The absent category - safeguarding children and vulnerable adults" further outlines the charity's position on categorising missing people as "absent".
Missing People is committed to continuing our work with police forces around the UK and the National Crime Agency to ensure that every missing child has a safe place to turn to for help.