Missing person investigations increase by almost 1,000 in a year

The number of missing person reports investigated by Police Scotland investigated increased to almost 23,000 last year.

Of those reported missing, 64% were children, says report for year by Police Scotland. Picture: John Devlin
Of those reported missing, 64% were children, says report for year by Police Scotland. Picture: John Devlin

The cases related to around 12,500 individuals – with a quarter of cases involving 300 people, each of whom had been reported missing ten or more times.

Figures from Police Scotland show missing person investigations across Scotland rose by 977 (4.4 per cent) in 2017-18 compared to the previous year. Of those reported missing, 64 per cent were children and 24 per cent of investigations involved someone with a mental health issue.

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More than 99 per cent of people who are reported missing are traced alive, with 0.4 per cent found dead and 0.1 per cent remaining missing.

Of those found dead, the vast majority were men who had not been missing before and had no known mental health issues.

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Officers said people go missing for different and complex reasons. Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins said: “Many will go voluntarily, but others may feel it is their only option and some may be in extreme distress.

“We cannot underestimate the impact such cases have on families and people’s loved ones, and the support of communities is vital in helping us trace missing persons.

“We are absolutely committed to tracing those who have been reported missing, and our officers and staff work tirelessly in every case to achieve a positive outcome for families.

“While no crime has usually been committed, missing ­persons investigations are one of the biggest demands on modern policing and can be very challenging.

“This is the only second year we have been able to publish data taken from our National Missing Persons Database, but already a clear picture is developing of who goes missing and from where.”

Community safety minister Annabelle Ewing said: “I welcome the publication of these figures and the valuable breakdown they provide into this complex area.

“Last year, I launched the National Missing Persons Framework for Scotland which aims to prevent people from going missing and limit the harm associated with going missing.

“It is clear to see that this information can only help agencies as they work together, to target support and ­prevent people from going missing.”