Thursday, June 5, 2014
Nearly 6,000 missing persons’ reports have been made in Suffolk since January 2012, according to police figures.
As of last night there were still 14 people officially listed as missing in the county with the oldest recorded case dating back to the 1980s.
In addition there are other cases where people have disappeared in suspicious circumstances such as 19-year-old Luke Durbin, from Hollesley, whose last confirmed sighting was in Ipswich on May 11, 2006, after a night out.
Another active investigation being overseen by Suffolk’s major investigation team is that of Amanda Duncan, 26, of Woodbridge, who has not been seen since July 2, 1993.
Suffolk police received 2,643 missing person reports in 2012. Last year there were 2,537, while up to the end of May this year there were 698 reports. Some of the people involved may have disappeared more than once due to various issues such as their mental health or age-related illnesses.
The emotional toll for those who have families is immense.
Luke Durbin’s mother Nikki has lived with heartbreak and despair for eight years. During that time she has begun working with the charity Missing People to help others in a similar situation.
Ms Durbin gave an insight into the emotions the loved ones of missing people going through, especially those in long-term cases.
She said: “It’s a feeling of complete helplessness – not knowing where to go and what to do. In some ways it is amplified as time goes on.
“Your whole world is split. There is the black side and the desperate, desperate situation of thinking every moment about your child (or loved one) and trying to find them. Then there’s the normal part of life your life. Personally I can’t think of a worse situation.”
Police are particularly keen to stress how important it is to ensure each case is treated with the utmost care.
Some people are listed as missing and others are deemed as absent depending on a risk assessment which is made in the initial stages.
Detective Inspector Dave Dring said: “It is really important to take every report we receive seriously. We have to look at each report clinically and carefully and make an assessment of the risk. There is no room for complacency. There are no short cuts. You do so at your peril. Each report is worthy of very careful consideration.
“There is no room for second guessing or a reduced response until a proper assessment is made.
“It is incredibly difficult for families.
“The family are desperate for information and updates from ourselves. We have to manage that very, very sensitively.
“The charity Missing People can be a constant source of support to people’s families.
“We do have situations where an adult has made a decision that they do not want to be in a particular location, but the result is they leave family members behind who are highly stressed and just want to know they are safe.
“Missing People can sometimes be an intermediary, perhaps sending a text to someone’s phone when they wouldn’t want contact with the police.”
To find out more about Missing People log on to www.missingpeople.org.uk