Skip to main content

Missing Persons

Volume 475: debated on Monday 28 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what support is available to relatives or friends of missing persons; and if she will make a statement. (199014)

Help and support is available for the families and friends of missing people from family liaison officers of the investigating police force, the voluntary sector and the National Policing Improvement Agency's (NPIA) Missing Persons Bureau (MPB).

The MPB was launched on 1 April 2008 and works closely with the charity Missing People. Missing People, and a number of other similar charities, work with young runaways, missing and unidentified people, their families, friends and others who are, or have been, affected by the issue of missing people.

Missing People is part funded by the Government (approximately £700,000 this year). This service includes support, advice, guidance and practical help to the families of those who have gone missing through:

a dedicated national 24-hour support helpline for families and friends of missing people;

case publicity via poster campaigns, internet appeals, a network of national media partners and features;

a national 24-hour confidential sightings service;

Runaway Helpline—a 24-hour confidential helpline for runaways, offering help and advice to young people who have run away from home or care, or who have been forced to leave;

Message Home—a 24-hour free confidential telephone service that offers help, advice and support to adults who are missing.

Identification—a specialist service offered by Missing People to support police, coroners, hospitals and social services to resolve cases of unidentified people (alive or dead).

Support is also available for families of abducted children from other charities including Reunite. Reunite provide advice, information and support to parents/guardians and family members, who have had a child abducted or who fear child abduction. Reunite also provide advice to parents who may have abducted their child as well as advising on international contact issues.

The MPB acts as the centre for the exchange of information connected with the search for missing people nationally and internationally. This includes the co-ordination between police forces, relevant agencies, charities and other organisations working in the field of missing people. The Bureau already works closely with Government Departments, including the Home Office and the Department for Children, Schools and Families.