– Missing Persons PROCEDURE Number: Date Published: 9 April 2014

PROCEDURE – Missing Persons
Number: B 1601
Date Published: 9 April 2014
Summary of Changes
This procedure has been amended to include the following:
All references to MPLOs (Missing Person Liaison Officers) have been removed and
their roles replaced with the appropriate officers;
The Command Team Reviews have been amended from different time scales in
accordance to the risk assessment to the same time scales for all with further
review times to be at the discretion of the Command Team member reviewing the
With the increasing use of Child Abduction Warning notices (CAWNs) some
guidance for officers has been included;
Paragraphs 3.12 and 3.12.1 have been clarified to show that CT Reviews are timed
from the time the misper is reported to the police.
What this Procedure is about
This procedure details the principles for recording and investigating missing persons.
It provides a structure for obtaining and utilising information in order to conduct a riskbased, methodical and thorough investigation. This may include enquiries into their
family, medical and social history, activities, associates and other personal enquiries.
It defines areas of responsibility and actions to be undertaken by police officers and
The ACPO definition of a missing person is:
"Anyone whose whereabouts is unknown whatever the circumstances of their
disappearance. They will be considered missing until they are located and their wellbeing or otherwise is established."
Missing person enquiries may develop into a critical incident or involve a serious crime
such as murder. The initial risk assessment, actions and recording of the incident may
prove critical in achieving a successful outcome. A comprehensive audit trail is
essential to aid the investigation and assist in future missing person reports.
The Local Policing Area (LPA) in which the missing person resides will be responsible
for the management of an investigation into their whereabouts. Any exception to this
general principle must be agreed by a Command Team Member and documented on
COMPACT and the STORM incident if still open.
In circumstances where the location of a person is unknown but police involvement is
not appropriate i.e. tracing a relative or friend, the informant should be directed to the
relevant tracing agencies. They will not be dealt with by police as a missing person.
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PROCEDURE – Missing Persons
Number: B 1601
Date Published: 9 April 2014
It is recognised that a person over 18 years with mental capacity may be absent
through their own choice. Their right to privacy must be observed and details of their
location not divulged.
Compliance with this procedure and any governing policy is mandatory.
Detail the Procedure
Missing Person Investigation - An Overview
The purpose of the investigation is to identify the movements of the missing person in
order to establish their current whereabouts and / or wellbeing. The LPA Response
and Patrol (R&P) Inspector will be responsible for the initial risk assessment and
management of the initial missing person enquiries. At the appropriate juncture,
usually within 24 hours, the incident will be passed to the Neighbourhood Policing
Team (NPT) Inspector who will assume responsibility for the ongoing investigation.
Inspectors must ensure that missing person incidents are not to be re-classified as a
concern for welfare or an unauthorised absence.
The Incident Management Unit (IMU), Crime Bureau (CB) will initially monitor all
reported missing person incidents. They will check COMPACT and create a nominal
for any individual who is not already registered on the system. Where the nominal is
present they will update the STORM incident with the COMPACT PID number, any
warning markers and risk factors present.
Where FCR have identified the report as High Risk, IMU CB will create a skeleton
missing report within COMPACT to be later updated by the OIC. This is to ensure the
automatic e-mail is generated and sent to PNC to enable an early PNC Missing report
to be created.
The COMPACT Database will be used to record and manage all missing person
enquiries. It can be used to create new tasks as well as self-generating appropriate
tasks for each incident according to the identified risk assessment.
It will be used to record the decision making process throughout the investigation
including the details of any review conducted in accordance with this procedure. In
addition, it will be used to record the full outcome of any investigation providing a
valuable source of intelligence and information when dealing with individuals who are
frequently reported missing.
Any decision to discontinue the use of COMPACT must be approved by a Senior
Investigating Officer (SIO) or a Command Team Member. The rationale will be
recorded on the Supervision / Handover task on COMPACT before being shown as
inactive on COMPACT. The details of the OIC and manor of recording the ongoing
investigation must be shown on the front of the missing report using the ‘edit details’
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PROCEDURE – Missing Persons
Number: B 1601
Date Published: 9 April 2014
Risk Assessment Missing Persons
It is the responsibility of the R&P Inspector to ensure that a risk assessment is
completed and regularly reviewed.
Consideration should be given to the following:
The full circumstances leading to a report of the person as missing Previous risk
assessments and warning markers;
Local Intelligence and PNC check including any warning markers;
In some circumstances, consider PNC checks on the informant and witnesses;
Details held by any other partner agency including Probation, Social Services,
Mental Health Team or Local Safeguarding Boards.
A child under the age of 18 years will never be assessed as low risk.
Initial Risk Assessments for ‘Looked After’ children and patients from Mental Health
establishments will be completed by their carers prior to contacting police in
accordance with the following protocols:
Southend, Essex and Thurrock, Children & Young People Who Go Missing or Run
Away from Home or Care Protocol;
Southend, Essex and Thurrock Multi Agency Protocol for People with Mental Ill
Health or Learning Disabilities who are Missing or Absent Without Leave from Care.
The ACPO risk assessment will be classified as follows:
High Risk
The risk posed is immediate and there are substantial grounds to believe:
They are in danger due to their own vulnerability;
They are likely to be a danger to themselves, another or the public;
They may be a victim, or the perpetrator of a serious crime.
3.2.2 Medium Risk
The risk posed is likely to place the missing person or others in danger.
3.2.3 Low Risk
There is no apparent threat of danger to either the subject or the public.
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PROCEDURE – Missing Persons
Number: B 1601
Date Published: 9 April 2014
If a missing person is known to be wanted by police for an offence, the missing report
will be closed and the person dealt with as Wanted only. The exception would be if
they are considered particularly vulnerable or suicidal. In these circumstances, the
investigative processes and recording requirement of a missing person investigation
may be of benefit to ensure a thorough investigation.
Children under 18 years who are wanted will continue to be dealt with as a missing
Missing Abroad
Essex Police will always record the initial report on STORM and COMPACT. For High
Risk - Interpol and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office will be informed. Details of the
informant will be passed to the Missing Persons charity.
Cross Border Cases
Essex Police will always record the initial report on STORM and COMPACT. The PPC
HQ MPPRO will assist with the negotiations and transfer to other forces.
The Initial Missing Person Report
Where a person receives the report of a missing person they will:
Obtain details and circumstances of the disappearance;
Identify any immediate risk;
Arrange for the missing person investigation to be documented;
This can be manually on a form CID 94 or electronically on an MDT;
Identify any immediate enquires to be carried out;
Ensure a STORM incident is created;
Obtain a photograph or arrange a digital photograph to be emailed to either the OIC
or [email protected];
Inform FCR and the R&P Duty Inspector.
Where the report is received by (FCR) for all incidents they will:
Create a STORM incident to record the details and circumstances using the call
takers cue card, if not previously created;
For reports of children missing from care a specific cue card is used;
Inform IMU Crime Bureau by activating the missing person tag;
Notify the LPA R&P Duty Inspector requesting a risk assessment;
Allocate an appropriate resource to attend in all cases within three hours;
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PROCEDURE – Missing Persons
Number: B 1601
Date Published: 9 April 2014
Where the incident is considered HIGH RISK it should be treated as a priority in
accordance with D 0503 Procedure – Responding to Incidents Upon receipt of a
missing person report from FCR, IMU Crime Bureau will search the COMPACT
database for the missing person; and
If they are on the system;
o Check for warning markers, previous risk assessments and found locations –
update STORM.
If there are no previous record on COMPACT:
o Create a nominal using details held on STORM and add the Personal
Identification number (PID) to STORM.
If there are sightings – FCR will forward calls regarding sightings to IMU Crime
Bureau who will update COMPACT by creating a sighting report.
The details of all persons reported missing will be recorded on STORM. The incident
will remain open until recorded on COMPACT and the subsequent Person
Identification Number (PID) entered onto the incident. The Supervisor closing the
incident must ensure the COMPACT PID has been recorded. Once closed the
STORM incident must not be re-opened. Any further information relating to the
incident will be recorded on a new STORM incident and cross referenced to the
Areas of Responsibility
3.8.1 Searches
All searches will be the responsibility of and managed by the R&P Inspector. They will
be responsible for consulting the PolSA duty officer regarding High Risk incidents after
all the initial searches have been completed.
In all cases within 24 hours if the person has not been located.
It will be the decision of PolSA to use, call out and liaise with the volunteer search and
rescue organisations.
The Duty Inspector may also consider seeking advice from PolSA in Medium Risk
cases once all other lines of search enquiries have been completed.
3.8.2 Response and Patrol Inspector
The R&P Duty Inspector is responsible for the management of all investigations
concerning missing persons within their LPA. On commencement of their duty they will
review all live COMPACT reports including the risk assessment and all outstanding
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PROCEDURE – Missing Persons
Number: B 1601
Date Published: 9 April 2014
They must ensure the COMPACT Supervision/Handover task is regularly updated
providing a comprehensive audit trail as well as an informative and effective handover.
In addition they will be responsible for the following:
Briefing the Command Team or Silver Commander in the event of an incident
assessed as High Risk;
Where the incident is High Risk and the initial searches have been completed
contact POLSA with regard to an ongoing search strategy;
Endorse the risk assessment made by the officer completing COMPACT
Review the risk assessment regularly
Document all lines of enquiry and ensure appropriate tasks are created;
Ensure sufficient resources are available to undertake actions and tasks.
3.8.2 Neighbourhood Policing Inspector (NPT)
The NPT Inspector will assume responsibility for missing person investigations, in most
cases within 24 hours once the duties of R&P are concluded and the STORM incident
has been closed. They will retain this responsibility until either the individual is located
or the incident is concluded and declared inactive.
It is suggested that an OIC be allocated to each missing person investigation to ensure
continuity, management of the family and the continued updating of tasks and actions
Details of the OIC must be documented on the missing report on COMPACT.
Upon commencement of their duty they will review all live COMPACT reports for their
area of responsibility including the risk assessment and all outstanding actions.
They must ensure the supervision/handover task is regularly completed on COMPACT
providing a comprehensive audit trail as well as informative and effective handover.
3.8.3 Duty Sergeant
In all cases the Duty Sergeant will ensure the following is complied with:
If acting as the Inspector’s nominated deputy, confirm the risk assessment and
endorse the completed CID94 missing person form;
Ensure COMPACT has been checked for previous missing reports, warning
markers, risk assessments and previously found locations;
Ensure a COMPACT log has been created and the actions documented;
Provide sufficient resources to manage the initial stage of the investigation;
Ensure initial searches have been completed and fully documented.
Consider advice and assistance from specialists, i.e. PolSA, Dogs and Air Support.
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PROCEDURE – Missing Persons
Number: B 1601
Date Published: 9 April 2014
3.8.4 Police Officer Attending
The following actions should be prioritised in accordance with the individual incident
and is not a definitive list.
It is the responsibility of the police officer allocated to the incident to ensure the
following actions are completed:
Contact the informant;
Establish if this is a repeat missing person - check COMPACT for warning markers,
person notes and previously found locations;
Complete the missing persons form CID94 or MDT and add or update the missing
report on COMPACT;
Establish any access to a vehicle or property and inform FCR;
Obtain a recent photograph or arrange for one to be emailed to the OIC or
[email protected];
Search the missing person’s home address to establish they are not present on the
A more detailed search of any room likely to contain evidence of their whereabouts
or information concerning their disappearance is important and must not be left to
friends, family or carers to complete
Record on COMPACT details of areas searched/not searched and details of the
persons present;
Consider obtaining physical evidence of identity unless DNA is already confirmed;
Ensure a description and details of the missing person are circulated by FCR;
Identify a person as a point of contact for police and obtain telephone numbers;
Provide police contact details for the informant;
Provide informant with details of the missing people charity for family support;
Refer the completed CID94 and risk assessment to a supervisor for endorsement;
If identified as HIGH RISK, contact and brief the R&P Duty Inspector immediately.
Further guidance can be found within B 1601 Additional Guidance Document.
Suspicious Circumstances
If there is any reason to suspect the circumstances may be suspicious, do not leave
the location and treat as a crime scene;
Restrict access and begin a log;
Contact FCR and request the urgent attendance of the R&P Duty Inspector;
Preserve and protect any potential evidence from contamination.
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PROCEDURE – Missing Persons
Number: B 1601
Date Published: 9 April 2014
Recording onto COMPACT
The information regarding the missing person investigation must be added to
COMPACT as follows within three hours of the initial report;
The STORM incident is updated with the COMPACT PID and RID number;
A photograph of the missing person is added;
Where a recent photograph is not available through family or friends, a convicted or
non-convicted photograph via video witness may be used.
Where there is evidence the missing report was due to a misunderstanding and highly
unlikely to reoccur, for instance a small child lost in a shopping centre, the Duty/FCR
Inspector can authorise no further action and dispense with the need for a COMPACT
record to be opened.
The rationale must be recorded onto the STORM incident.
Immediate Return of Missing Person
Should a missing person return during the initial recording process, the officer will
complete the form CID94 missing and found report, obtain a photograph or email a
digital photo to the OIC or [email protected]
When a missing report is added to COMPACT an automatic notification is sent to PNC
for a missing report to be created. In cases of immediate return the officer should
commence the entry in the ‘Full Circumstances’ field with the wording “No PNC
required, subject already found”.
The officer must follow this with a found report. The entry within the ‘Full Debrief’ field
should commence with words “Subject not circulated on PNC”.
Command Team Reviews
All missing person incidents will be reviewed by a Command Team member within 24
hours of the initial report.
It is the responsibility of the officer adding the missing report to create the Command
Team Review on COMPACT.
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PROCEDURE – Missing Persons
Number: B 1601
Date Published: 9 April 2014
3.12.1 All Risks
Reviews will be completed by an LPA Command Team member:
Command Team review times are timed from the date and time of the initial report to
the police and not from the time of the previous review.
Within 24 hours of the initial report;
A further review within 48 hours of the initial report;
Continued reviews should be timed as appropriate to the individual investigation
and the associated risk.
Assistance can be requested from SCD.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) will assist with reviews in relation to High Risk
incidents if required. MPPRO HQ will assist in facilitating this request.
3.12.2 Reviews - Missing Persons found Deceased
The primary aim for completing such reviews is to identify any relevant organisational
learning. The review will be reported to the Head of PPU Command and the relevant
recommendations adjudicated upon and progressed.
Where such reviews highlight any disciplinary or conduct matters, this will be subject of
a report to PSD as will death following police contact:
Missing Persons Performance & Review Officer (MPPRO) – PPU HQ;
Internal Serious Case Review Team;
3.12.3 Conclusion of the Investigation - Inactive Reports
Where all current lines of enquiry have been concluded and provided there are no
suspicious circumstances, the Command Team Reviewing Officer may show the
record ‘inactive’ on COMPACT pending re-activation following new information. Where
there are suspicious circumstances the decision to make inactive will be made by the
The designated Missing Person SPOC’s are responsible for monitoring the Inactive
Missing Persons on COMPACT and will ensure the relevant Command Teams are
aware of an impending review to be completed.
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PROCEDURE – Missing Persons
Number: B 1601
Date Published: 9 April 2014
Closing Incidents for Persons not Seen
Incidents where the missing person has been located or their whereabouts are known,
but it is impractical or impossible to see them, the investigation can be closed with the
authority of a Chief Inspector.
This includes persons who are deliberately avoiding police, have gone abroad and
there is no evidence to support a crime or that anything untoward has happened to
The investigation is closed by adding a found report on COMPACT with the details
included in the ‘de-brief’ section.
Details of missing persons believed to be illegal immigrants/overstayers who are
deliberately avoiding police should be passed to the Border Agency and the police
investigation can then be closed. Under 18’s will remain as police missing persons.
Closure of a Missing Person Report
When a missing person is located, the relevant Inspector will ensure:
All reviews are completed;
Any relevant circulations have been cancelled;
All relevant documentation including form CID94 and search logs are collated and
stored with the relevant LPA;
COMPACT is updated and endorsed with the location of the documentation.
Missing Children (under 18 yrs)
Children who go missing from Home and Care are managed by Essex Police in
accordance with the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board Protocol and OFSTED.
Link to OFSTED -- Joint Protocol for Disclosing Details on their register of Children’s
Homes with Local Authorities.
Child Abduction Warning Notices (CAWN)
CAWN can be valuable in assisting the safeguarding of vulnerable young people and
provide supportive evidence for criminal or other proceedings.
These Warning Notices are useful in disrupting the criminal activity of adults who are
associating with young people against the wishes of the parents or local authority
carers. The Notices can be used where arrest or prosecution for any substantive
offences is not available or is not appropriate at that time.
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PROCEDURE – Missing Persons
Number: B 1601
Date Published: 9 April 2014
There are two notices:
Section 2 Child Abduction Act 1984 is for a child under 16;
Section 49 Children Act 1989 is for a child under 18 who is in the care of a Local
Both notices together with guidance notes on completion can be found within Form
The notice identifies the child or young person and confirms that the suspect has no
permission to associate with or to contact or communicate with the child, and that if
they continues to do so, they may be liable to arrest and prosecution for one of the
offences outlined above.
Issuing the Warning Notice
A warning notice should be viewed as a safeguarding measure for the child concerned
as well as a proactive case building initiative. Furthermore, they can be used as
evidence when making other applications to the court such as:
Sexual Offender Prevention Order [SOPO] – Sec 104 Sexual Offences Act 2003;
Risk of Sexual Harm Order [ROSHO] – Sec 123 Sexual Offences Act 2003.
A Detective Inspector may authorise the issuing of a Child Abduction Warning Notice
where a child under the age of 16 years (or 18yrs if in Local Authority Care):
Is reported missing and found on 2 or more occasions to be in the company of a
There are reports to indicate the subjects (misper) behaviour and association with a
suspect is giving significant cause for concern?
The Detective Inspector will ensure that an entry is placed on COMPACT and that the
following checks have been made:
Notify the Public Protection administrator who will check the sex offenders register /
MAPPA / Violent Offenders.
A CAWN can be issued on the first missing occasion provided the Detective Inspector
considers that it is proportionate and appropriate to do so.
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PROCEDURE – Missing Persons
Number: B 1601
Date Published: 9 April 2014
A statement will be taken from the person responsible for lawful care of the child to
Clarification of parental responsibility, child’s name, age and date of birth;
The fact that the restrictions and wishes of the parent or carer have been made
clear to the child;
The concerns the parent or carer has for the child arising from the association;
The provision of a recent good quality photograph which should be exhibited within
the statement;
Permission for the photograph to be shown to the suspect at the time the warning is
Serving the Warning Notice
Notices will be prepared using Form CID 97.
The exact wording contained within the notice must be read to the suspect. A
photograph to be shown to the suspect clearly identifying the young person to whom
the notice refers.
The suspect should only be supplied with a copy of the notice and requested to sign
the officer’s copy. If the suspect refuses to sign, the officer will endorse the notice.
IMPORTANT CAWN’s must be recorded as a non-crime on CrimeFile and the number
placed on COMPACT.
Equality Impact Assessment
An EIA has been completed for this document.
Risk Assessment
Risks identified as having a bearing upon the safety of the person reported missing are
dealt with at 3.2.
Unison / Federation
Health & Safety / Diversity
Monitoring and Review
The Head of the Public Protection Unit will be responsible for reviewing this procedure
every 12 months to ensure that continues to be fit for purpose and it remains
consistent with national guidance.
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PROCEDURE – Missing Persons
Number: B 1601
Date Published: 9 April 2014
Protecting Vulnerable People Inspector (Safeguarding) will conduct 12 monthly
Governing Force policy.
Related Force policies or related procedures
B 1600 Policy - Missing Persons
B 1200 Policy - Child Abuse Investigations
D 0400 Policy - Critical Incidents
B 1203 Procedure - Child Abduction
D 0401 Procedure – Dealing with Critical Incidents
Other source documents, e.g. Legislation, Authorised Professional
Practice (APP), Force forms, partnership agreements (if applicable)
Local Safeguarding Children’s Protocol;
Statutory Guidance on Children who run away or go missing from Home or Care
Jan 2014
ACPO Family Liaison Guidance 2008;
Guidance Child Abduction Warning Notices;
Mental Health/Learning Disabilities Protocol;
2010 ACPO Guidance on Management, Recording & Investigation of Missing
Grampian Document;
LSCB Protocol agreement.
Joint Protocol; HMCI disclosing details on their register of children’s homes with
local authorities, the police, the office of the children’s commissioner and the
Secretary of State for Education
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