Reports of missing people are taken very seriously by Cheshire Police. We devote considerable time and resources to finding missing people. Our priority is always to locate the missing person and make sure they are safe and well.
How Cheshire Police is dedicated to finding missing people
When responding to a report we have to consider:
- The well-being of the missing person
- An individual’s right to go ‘missing’ if they do not want to be found
- Our compassion towards the relatives and friends of the missing person
- Whether the missing person may have been a victim of a serious crime
- The preservation and management of evidence in suspicious cases
- The appropriate level of resources to respond to each report.
It is a very sensitive issue which is further complicated by the contradictions in our considerations. Balancing the right of an individual to cut off contact and become ‘missing’ with showing compassion for their family and friends is not necessarily easy.
Once we have received a report of a missing person, the investigation into finding them commences. As part of this, an officer is deployed to obtain further details of the incident. With the help of the person reporting the incident the officer will complete an in-depth form including obtaining a photograph where possible.
From the information received an assessment is made as to how much risk the missing person poses to themselves and to members of the public.
We take into account the following vulnerabilities:
- The person’s age
- Whether they need essential medication or treatment
- Whether they are on the Child Protection Register
- The circumstances of the disappearance
- Whether the disappearance is out of character.
- Whether there is a suspicion of murder
- Whether the missing person has financial, employment or relationship problems.
Depending on the circumstances, the search could involve search teams, dog handlers, underwater search units, air support units and the CID if assessed as High Risk.
We will pursue all lines of enquiry until they are exhausted. The case will remain open and any new lines of enquiry will be investigated.
Cheshire police has four missing person coordinators, who specialise in investigating missing persons. They work in partnership with the four local authorities and to ensure that the missing people have the correct level of support once they are found. Cheshire Police also work in Partnership with Catch22, a charity who continue to support children who have been reported missing.