It can be traumatic when someone goes missing. It is critical that you take immediate action, especially when the person could be in danger.

A missing person is anyone whose whereabouts cannot be established. They will be considered as missing until located, and their well-being or otherwise confirmed.

All reports of missing people sit within a continuum of risk from 'no apparent risk (absent)' through to those that require immediate, intensive action.

What to do if someone you know goes missing

Before calling the police, take the following steps to try to locate the missing person

  • Search their home or the place they were last seen, in case they are hiding or fallen and suffered injury. Remember that children can hide in small spaces
  • Look out for any notes or clues that may suggest where they may be.  Check diaries, social media or email messages
  • Check to see if they have left you a message on your phone voicemail or email
  • Contact family members, friends and the person's place of work to verify that they are missing and not just somewhere unexpected.
  • Make a list of family/friends
  • Check places of significance to the person, i.e. parks where they may play, or gather with friends

How to report a missing person

You can report a missing person to us at any time.  You do not need to wait 24 hours before making a report.

Call us on 101, or 999 if the missing person is a child, or someone thought to be at serious risk or harm.

If there are reasons why speaking to us might be difficult, you can also report to the charity Missing People on 116 000.

If you call, we may ask you to provide the following about the missing person:

  • Full name and date of birth
  • A physical description, including what clothes and jewellery they were wearing (if known)
  • A recent photograph
  • When they were last seen and by whom
  • What their intentions were when last seen and whether they completed these (e.g. they left to go to work or visit a friend)
  • Contact details, mobile number, work address/number, social media accounts
  • Names, addresses and contact numbers of family members and their close friends
  •  If the missing person is a child, provide contact details for the parents of their close friends
  • Any other relevant circumstances that may increase the risk to the person.  For example medical conditions and medication they may need or previous history of going missing, self-harming or being bullied

What happens once you have reported someone missing?

We will use the information that you supply to assess the level of risk that the person may be at while missing.  We will then consider all appropriate lines of enquiry, which may include:

  • Searching the home address of the missing person
  • Searching the area where they were last seen (if different to their home)
  • Checking with local hospitals
  • Checking mobile phones and computers used by the missing person
  • House-to-house enquiries
  • Reviewing CCTV footage
  • Co-ordinating media coverage to raise awareness and appeal for sightings
  • High-risk cases maty also involve specialist searches, using helicopters, divers or dogs.

If the missing person returns, please let us know.  We may wish to see them to confirm that they have returned and that are safe and well.

What to do if you think you are reported as a missing person?

Contact us, or the charity Missing People

Missing People is a national, independent charity and offers support to missing people and their families. The charity works closely with police forces across the UK and can offer a range of services to support missing person investigations. Missing People is a confidential service and cannot trace your calls

Tel: 116000 (24 hours)



Samaritans provide emotional support to anyone who is struggling to cope and needs someone to listen.

Local branches can be visited during the day.

Helpline: 116 123 Every day, 24 hours

SMS: 07725 909090


National Missing Person Unit

The National Missing Person Unit and the Missing Children's Team (both of which are part of the National Crime Agency CEOP Command) work with the police and related organisations to improve services to missing person investigations.

The National Missing Person Unit serves all UK police forces as well as international and overseas police agencies, and is a part of a wider network of partners including other government departments, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and stakeholders.


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