Friday, 16 October 2015

Yesterday (15th October 2015) the Royal Society of Arts released its report Safer Together: Policing a Global City in 2020

By Anna Collins, Policy and Campaigns Manager at Missing People

In the context of imminent budget cuts to policing in London the Metropolitan Police Service have some tough decisions to make whilst ensuring that residents, workers and visitors in London are safe.

The latest data shows that there are almost 39 000 missing incidents reported in London per year. Most missing people are vulnerable and being missing makes them more vulnerable. The police play a vital role in ensuring their safety through investigating each missing incident, finding missing people and making them safe.

The links between people going missing and crime are so strong that preventing and responding to missing incidents must remain an essential element of the police’s strategy to prevent and reduce crime. When a person is reported missing it is not always known what the risks may be. The most serious risks include child sexual exploitation, gang exploitation and violent crime – seven in ten children who have been sexually exploited have also been reported missing, and one in three missing adults are threatened or harmed while missing. The police need to fully investigate and respond to every missing incident in order to safeguard vulnerable missing children and adults.

Whilst trying to manage the huge budget pressures this police and other forces are facing we agree that there is a very strong case for increased joint working, which can be facilitated through co-location of services, with other agencies and the voluntary sector.  Indeed, Missing People works in partnership already with the Metropolitan Police Service as well as other forces and will continue to do so to ensure that every missing person is found safe. The police play a vital in role in finding vulnerable missing people and making them safe. We urge the police to continue to prioritise this part of their responsibilities.

Read our response to the consultation here.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Missing People and multi-platinum X Factor stars G4 collaborate for Home for Christmas Appeal

We (G4) are incredibly excited to be releasing a new album “G4 Christmas” and to take this album on the road for eight exclusives dates in historic churches and cathedrals across the country on our “Christmas By Candlelight” tour.

Jo Youle, chief executive of Missing People says, “We’re thrilled to have been chosen by the wonderful G4 boys as their charity partner for the Christmas Album and Tour. Not only will their powerful and inspirational voices uplift and inspire us, they are also supporting our Home for Christmas Appeal which will help us to offer a lifeline to missing people and their families at what can be an incredibly lonely and heart-breaking time of year.”

Monday, 12 October 2015

Presumption of Death - one year on

Susannah Drury, Director of Policy, Research and Development at Missing People

“Michael was 20 years old when he went missing in 2012. As a young man with Asperger Syndrome he suffered depression and attempted suicide in his teens. After he went missing, suicide notes were found in his room and at the scene – he was witnessed jumping from the Humber Bridge by two members of the public. With this in mind, Michael’s family were convinced that he had died despite his body not being found and organised a memorial service for him at his university. They contacted the charity Missing People for support around getting answers to some of their questions…including what processes were in place to get a “Certificate of Presumed Death” in order to provide the closure they were otherwise being denied as they were told it was unlikely Michael’s body would be found.”
A year ago, a vital new law was put in place to help people in the same heart-breaking situation as Michael’s family of having a loved one who is missing and is believed to have died. The charity Missing People together with families had been campaigning for years for this law because previously, when a missing person was thought to have died it was very complex, time consuming and costly for the family to resolve the missing person’s affairs and achieve the closure longed for by Michael’s family. This situation added immense stress and worry to families already going through unimaginable trauma.
The Presumption of Death Act means there is now a single legal process families can use to sort out their missing relative’s finances, property and legal affairs. Through the Act, families in England and Wales can apply to through the Courts for a Certificate of Presumed Death which acts like a death certificate and enables the family to sort out the missing person’s finances and property and administer their estate in line with their will. Similar systems are in place in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Although this law helps families resolve their loved one’s affairs, making the decision to apply for a Declaration of Presumed Death is difficult, daunting and emotional for families.  As Michael’s mum explains:
“It was bittersweet when the judge finally granted the application stating Michael was presumed dead, but it was worthwhile, finally, to be in a position to deal with practicalities….Presumption of Death has provided some practical closure, but the deep sadness remains, we miss Michael every day and always will.”
The charity Missing People has been supporting a number of families through this new process, and have become aware of some teething problems – with solicitors and families finding some aspects of the application process confusing, as explained by Michael’s mother Sue:
“Although the process was daunting and challenging, this was partly due to the legislation being very new; hopefully it will become easier with time.”
In the first year since the law came into place, 11 families have been granted a Declaration of Presumed Death with many more going through the application process.
We hope that Missing People’s updated Family Guidance on Presumption of Death, together with the new Government Guidance will help make the process more straightforward for families. Missing People also plans to publish a new list of “Frequently Asked Questions” about Presumption of Death based on questions that families have asked us. This should be available online by the end of October here
At Missing People, we are keen to ensure that families whose missing relative is thought to have died know about the Presumption of Death procedure and what it involves. We are therefore using the first year anniversary of the Act coming into force in October 2014 to promote Presumption of Death to families and professionals such as solicitors who might be approached by families interested in applying for it.  In addition, Missing People’s Family Support Team are on hand 24/7 through our helpline 116000 and email to advise and support families in this situation. 
Missing People also continues to campaign for a system of guardianship which would enable a family to step in and manage a missing person’s property and finances so that they are kept in order should the missing person return. We were delighted that the government announced plans in March 2015 to introduce this legislation, and we continue to campaign to ensure this happens as soon as possible.

Around 250,000 people go missing in the UK each year. The Missing Blog aims to give a voice to all those affected by this issue.

Written by families and friends of missing people, supporters working to raise awareness of the cause, and volunteers and staff at the charity Missing People, we hope that this blog will offer a window into the issue of missing.

The charity Missing People is a lifeline when someone disappears. To find out more about Missing People and ways that you can support the charity visit

Call or txt the charity Missing People for free on 116 000, 24/7 if you or anyone you know is affected by a disappearance.