How to report a missing person

How do I report someone missing to the Police?

Call 101 and make a report of a missing person to the call taker. If there is an immediate risk to the person or the public dial 999

What will the police do if I report someone as missing ?

Firstly you should conduct some basic checks such as search your address and speak with other family members, friends and neighbours etc, and when certain that the individual is “missing”, call the police.

The call handler will then ask a series of questions about the missing person and the circumstances surrounding them going missing. These are asked for every missing person.

An officer will then be dispatched to attend your address and will conduct local searches (possibly including the address) and to take more a detailed Missing From Home report, including obtaining items such as a photograph. They may also seek to remove items from the address which may be further investigated, such items include computers, diaries, mobile phones, and identification sources such as fingerprints and DNA sources.

The officer will then make an informed Risk Assessment of the circumstances of the individuals disappearance from the information provided, and subsequently all actions to investigate the report will be in accordance with the Risk Assessment. This can vary from local enquiries with family, friends, workmates and neighbours to investigations which require the assistance of specialist search teams and the use of the force helicopter.

Do you need authority to publicise a missing person ?

Once an individual has been reported missing to the police, we will seek to use a number of publicity opportunities to locate the individual. Whilst we will endeavour to obtain authority from the informant or next of kin of the missing person for such publicity, we retain the right to continue to publicise the missing person in an attempt to establish their well being or otherwise, even when such authority is not forthcoming.

I have been reported as a missing person but I do not want anyone to know where I am. What can I do ?

Firstly you should make contact with your local police, regardless of whether that is the same police force that you were reported to or not.

You should attend a local police station with proof of your identity, and you should expect to be interviewed by a police officer. Once satisfied that you are who you claim to be and that you are safe, well, and not subject to any orders in relation to care or the mental health act, you will be free to carry on as normal.

The police will notify the person who reported you missing that you have been located safe and well. Your location / address / telephone number etc WILL NOT be divulged to the informant. This will ease their concerns without identifying where you are – it is then up to you if and when you then contact them.

Missing People

Missing People is the UK's only charity that works with young runaways, missing and unidentified people, their families and others who care for them. As well as actively searching for missing people and supporting those who are trying to find them, Missing People offers three other services: Runaway Helpline, Message Home and Identification.

Runaway Helpline is a 24 hour confidential helpline for runaways, offering help and advice to young people who have run away from home or care, or who have been forced to leave. Runaway Helpline offers a Freefone number and email service for young people seeking confidential help and advice.

 Message Home is a unique confidential service offering help, advice and support to adults who are missing. Message Home is a 24 hour Freefone service that helps people contact their family or carers via a message or three-way call. Identification is a specialist service to support police, coroners, hospitals and social services to resolve cases of unidentified people (alive or dead).

For more advice and information, see the Missing People website