Adult disappears every seven hours – a fifth for mental health reasons
- Credit: Archant
An adult went missing every seven hours in Suffolk last year, new figures have revealed.
Police dealt with 1,254 missing person incidents in 2017 – mainly involving men under 40.
Risk assessments had to be completed for every missing person to ensure the correct allocation of police resources.
Figures showed more than 99,000 incidents dealt with by 39 forces across England and Wales.
The Met recorded the highest number (21,412), followed by Greater Manchester Police (8,959).
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Essex Police logged 2,844 individuals marked ‘missing’, while 1,093 disappeared in Norfolk.
Suffolk’s 1,254 incidents concerned 1,015 people – with all but two found by the end of 2017.
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Almost two thirds (789) involved men; 459 involved women and six involved transgender people.
Six in 10 were under 40, with over-80s accounting for 48 reports.
Almost a fifth went missing for mental health reasons.
Reports are categorised from low to high-risk cases requiring immediate, intensive action, depending on factors like age, vulnerability, health conditions, time elapsed, circumstances of disappearance, and if the person has previously gone missing.
A record of circumstances is logged on a missing person reporting system, before a risk assessment is completed to inform actions – and regularly reviewed to ensure relevance and accuracy.
If a missing person under 18, or has particular vulnerabilities, police liaise with relevant partner agencies to ensure an appropriate and coordinated approach.
The figures were released by Ridley & Hall in response to a delay in legislation allowing relatives and close friends to manage the affairs of missing people, and prevent property being repossessed or bank accounts going into overdraft, without having to obtain a declaration of presumed death.
Secondary legislation, required before the Act can come into force, was expected to take effect in April, but has been pushed back.
Ridley & Hall’s Sarah Young said: “We currently lack a legal mechanism for relatives to step in and look after a missing person’s property and finances while there is still hope they will return.
“As it stands, families must navigate the bureaucratic nightmare of financial institutions that are currently unable to legally recognise anyone who wants to manage a missing loved one’s affairs.”