Authorised Professional Practice on missing person investigations published

Forces can now access recently published national guidance to manage risks with missing people.

​The Authorised Professional Practice (APP) sets out important areas which should be considered in a missing person's investigation including:

  • protecting those at risk
  • minimising distress to their families and carers
  • prosecuting those who cause harm where there is evidence.

The guidance outlines the range of risk, from no apparent risk (absent) through to high risk cases, so that forces can consider the specific circumstances of each case, identify actions to be taken to find the person and set review times to ensure that the case is receiving the right priority.
It includes information on how police can use publicly available details on social media in investigations and an added focus on exploring the missing person's lifestyle to yield lines of enquiry.
The APP also stresses the importance of fully investigating the reasons behind a person going missing and the need for forces to work with local authorities and other organisations to put effective safeguarding plans in place.
The guidance details the support forces can get from other specialist law enforcement agencies – such as the Missing Persons Bureau – and missing person's charities.

It includes several quick-reference guides for police officers and staff dealing with each step of a missing person investigation, including call handlers, first response officers, supervisors, investigators and missing person co-ordinators.

 College of Policing lead for crime and criminal justice, David Tucker, said:

"Missing person reports often concern vulnerable individuals and, while establishing their whereabouts is rightly the immediate priority, full investigation of the circumstances behind why the individual went missing in the first place is vital.

"The College's national guidance is about providing support so forces take a consistent and proportionate approach to investigating missing person's cases and the most intensive work is carried out on the cases where people are at the greatest risk.

"It also makes clear that all reported cases including those considered absent, should be appropriately risk assessed by the police on a case by case basis."

You can find out more about the new authorised professional practice on our website.

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