Every year an estimated 200,000 people go missing in the UK. In some cases, missing adults may have made a choice to leave and ‘start their lives over again’, but the vast majority of missing people, children and adults, are vulnerable and need protection and support.
As well as the children and adults who go missing, hundreds of thousands of relatives and families are affected and, in the worst cases, families can be left for years or more wondering what has happened to loved ones who, in some cases, may never return.
This is an important issue and we all have a role to play in tackling it.
With this in mind, the Missing Children and Adults strategy, which focuses primarily on vulnerable people who go missing within England and Wales, provides a core framework in which we can all work to deliver collectively the best protection possible for missing children, adults and their families.
The strategy outlines the following three key objectives which we believe provide the right foundations for any effective local strategy to tackle this issue:
- Prevention - reducing the number of people who go missing, including through prevention strategies, education work and early intervention in cases where children and adults repeatedly go missing
- Protection - reducing the harm to those who go missing, including through a tailored, risk-based response and ensuring agencies work together to find and close cases as quickly as possible at a local and national level
- Provision - providing support and advice to missing persons and families by referring then to agencies promptly and ensuring they understand how and where to access help
By providing a core framework, the strategy encourages local agencies with a role in tackling this important issue to review the arrangements they have in place with their local partners - and consider whether they can and should be doing more.
The strategy also outlines the role of Government in supporting local delivery through the provision of national capability and support. It outlines the role of the new capability within CEOP in relation to missing children and confirms the inclusion of the National Missing Persons Bureau within the new National Crime Agency (when operational in 2013).