HUNDREDS of people have gone missing in the past year, new police figures show.
In Hampshire 4,261 individuals accounted for 7,751 repeated incidents of people going missing in 2015/16.
Overall, reports of missing adults increased from 2,108 to 2,545 – a 21 per cent increase.
The number of children going missing jumped nine per cent, from 4,795 to 5,206.
Hampshire police said its figures showed a 19.1 per cent increase in adults and 7.8 per cent increase for children.
The National Crime Agency report said Hampshire police found 20 dead people in 2015/16 who had been reported missing. It said they could have been reported previously.
A Hampshire police spokesman said: ‘The increase in reporting of missing children is the result of better reporting, as well as other agencies being more aware of risks, in particular around child sexual exploitation.
‘The increase in reporting of missing adults is due to increased awareness of vulnerability and the fact that we are taking more missing reports at first point of police contact.’
Action being taken includes:
n Intervention work with children who go missing repeatedly.
n Improving visits when a missing child has been found and returning to find out why the child went missing.
n Making sure police get information from agencies who visit people once found.
The spokesman added: ‘We continue to work with other agencies to improve our ability to reduce harm to those who are most vulnerable. We will use this national report to help inform this process.’
Hampshire classified 982 people at being high risk of going missing, 6,362 as medium and 517 as low.
The force had 12,078 calls reporting people missing and absent – the eighth highest number out of 43 police forces in England and Wales.
Missing is defined as anyone whose whereabouts cannot be established, and the circumstances are out of character or the context suggests they are at risk.
Absent means anyone not where they are expected or required but there is no risk.