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Missing Persons

Volume 476: debated on Monday 2 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people reported missing were subsequently found to have been missing as a result of (a) abduction and (b) being the victim of another criminal offence in each year since 1997; and how many of these were not found until their death. (204137)

Statistics on the number and circumstances of people who are reported missing are not collected centrally. Research has shown that the vast majority of missing persons return safely soon after going missing and the overall proportion of missing persons who are found to have been the victim of homicide is very low.

Figures on child abduction are collated by the Home Office and the figures for the last five years are given in the following table. It is not possible, however, to correlate these with the overall number of missing people.

Number of abductions (including attempts)

2002-03

846

2003-04

930

2004-05

1,035

2005-06

919

2006-07

697

Of those people that go missing, it is not possible to determine how many are victims of other crimes. The Children's Society report “Stepping Up: The Future of Runaways Services August 2007” explains the risks faced by young people who go missing. The Parents and Abducted Children Together (PACT) report entitled “Every Five Minutes” also includes an overview of the risks faced by children who go missing.

The national Missing Persons Bureau (MPB) will seek to develop national information to support local police operations. One of the priorities for the MPB is to carry out a strategic assessment on the missing person phenomenon and to produce a "problem profile", thereby establishing a baseline on which to formulate, develop and measure future policy initiatives in close consultation with the missing persons Strategic Oversight Group.