University of Portsmouth study raises concern over missing people

From left, Paul Stanley, Jo Crisp, George Heasman, Mercedes Bevan, Luke Galea and Bethany Bevan from Highbury College

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MORE than half of police officers responsible for determining the degree of risk in missing people cases have never read national guidelines on how to handle such cases.

The findings are contained in a report by Richard Smith and Dr Karen Shalev Greene from the Centre for the Study of Missing Persons at the University of Portsmouth.

Police sergeants are responsible for overseeing the initial stages of missing person investigations but in the police force examined for the research, 51 per cent said they hadn’t read Association of Chief Police 
Officers guidelines on assessing risk.

And 49 per cent had also not read the force’s own guidance documents.

Dr Shalev Greene said: ‘The cost to the missing person, to society and to the police of misjudging risk and then choosing the wrong tactics can’t be overestimated.’