This week we rounded off our series of four launches of Aftercare at police forces across Wales. We were honoured to launch Aftercare to staff at North Wales Police in Wrexham - here are Detective Superintendent Jo Ramessur-Williams' thoughts on the new service.
"People that have run away will often have done so because they have reached a point in their lives where they are no longer able to cope, they need help or at least signposting to help. Finding the missing person is only half the story and it only means that we know where that person physically is. It could be that all we have achieved is to temporarily reduce the risk.
It's important that when the missing person is found, or when they return home, there is a skilled and readily available support mechanism there for them if they need it. The family and friends of the person that is missing will also be going through a challenging time. Worried for their loved one, not knowing what has happened to them or where they are, concerned that something awful may have happened to them. They need support whilst the person is missing but equally importantly, they will need help and support when the missing person returns or they regrettably receive bad news.
The family may be struggling to understand how to support the person that was away; they might feel guilty for not spotting signs earlier; they may feel angry about what happened. Especially difficult for families are those missing person cases where their loved one is not found for a long time or in some cases never found. These families need long term support sometimes over many years. Perhaps offering legal advice or, in worst case scenarios, helping them at an inquest.
Missing People have a depth and breadth of experience in this arena and the support infrastructure they are currently setting up in Wales and in particular North Wales is welcomed with open arms