The guidance on this page is for outreach workers.
You can download a single page of key information for a missing person here.
Whatever you do or don’t do with the guidance below please complete the Action Taken box on your database.
Check the photograph using the link in the message on your database. Is it the same as the person on your database?
How to tell someone they’ve been reported missing.
- Make sure you are in an area away from other people. Having a conversation about missing can be confusing and upsetting for some people.
- Reassure them that they are not in any trouble.
- Explain that they have been reported missing because somebody is concerned about them and does not know where they are. This may have been a friend, relative or a person who was previously supporting them. Your client can find out who has reported them missing.
- You could follow the link to the missing poster to show the person that he really is being looked for – but take care this might spook some people.
- Explain that an adult has the right to be missing and that although the police are involved it is not a crime to be missing.
- To stop being considered a missing person the police need to complete a ‘safe and well’ check. This process does not take very long and can usually be done in less than 10 minutes. The police just need to see the person to check that they are OK. If a safe and well check does not take place the police will continue to look for them.
- Please also reassure them that the police will not pass details such as their whereabouts on to their family against their wishes.
- If they would like to know what to do then they can ring the charity Missing People on the special short number 116000 (even without any credit on their phone). Missing People is completely confidential and will only do what the missing person wants them to do. It’s all up to the missing person.
- If the person objects to being included in the processing then tell them that they can be excluded from all future processing – but do encourage them to contact Missing People even so.
- The missing person might want to reconnect with a relative they have lost contact with. Missing People can offer free tracing service to help reconnect the missing person with a loved one.
- It is possible that the person was missing but has been reported found already – the police simply haven’t told Missing People. If this is the case then do encourage them to contact Missing People so that they can confirm this with the police and get the record corrected.
- Note that the people and organisations (e.g. Missing People and the police) that might be looking for the missing person do not know where they are. Only you, the outreach worker, knows that.
You are under no obligation to report that you have found someone but if you do want to you can call 116 000 to report a sighting or provide any information you have. We will pass the information on to the police who may then want to do a safe and well check as outlined above.
Please feel free to ring us on 116000 for any further guidance.
The welfare of the missing person is at the heart of everything we do.