New measures to help missing people and their families were outlined by the Home Office today.
The measures, which include better sharing of data between police, councils, charities, health authorities and the families of the missing, were recommended in a report by the Missing Person’s Taskforce, which was created specifically to explore ways of improving services.
All its recommendations have been accepted by the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister, who jointly launched the taskforce in December, and will now be developed into an action plan.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown said:
“The Government accepts fully all the recommendations of this report by the Missing Persons Taskforce. These include plans to make sure families are getting the right support and making sure all the agencies involved in dealing with missing people such as charities, police and health practitioners, are sharing information with each other.
“Having only recently met with families who are suffering the pain of losing a loved one and heard their deeply moving stories, I know how important this is.”
Home Office minister Alan Campbell, who chairs the Taskforce, said:
“When someone goes missing it can have a terrible effect on the individual and their family and I’m confident that these practical measures will lead to real improvements in the services offered to both.
“A strong, co-ordinated response is essential from all partners. There is more to do, but these recommendations are an important step in the right direction.”
Missing People chief executive Martin Houghton-Brown said:
“This is a landmark report for missing people and their families. The government’s commitment to providing the new support that is so desperately needed in every missing person’s case is very welcome.
“The report highlights the vital work that charities across the country are doing for vulnerable missing adults and children and for their families left behind and, crucially, reinforces the role that these charities have to play.”
Chief Constable Peter Neyroud, chief executive of the National Policing Improvement Agency, said:
“We welcome the report by the Missing Persons Taskforce. It provides an important blueprint for the way in which the police service, working with our key statutory and third sector partners, will improve the joined-up approach to missing person cases.
“The Taskforce’s recommendations strengthen our remit as the national agency at the heart of missing person inquiries and we eagerly anticipate the positive effects these changes will make on missing people and their families.” ?
The new recommendations include:
* a national model of information-sharing to facilitate better sharing of data between police, local authorities, charities and health services on missing individuals;
* a single point of contact for families in police forces, local authorities and health authorities, ensuring families and practitioners know where to turn and that there is a joined-up response; and
* better training for police, social workers, charity case workers and health professionals to deal with missing people and their families
Alongside these improvements the Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre (CEOP) will assume responsibility for missing and abducted children from the Missing Person’s Bureau. As part of this, CEOP will shortly pilot a service with police forces to help review their long-term missing children cases.