Insp Matt Sheil and Constable Jamie Acton
National Missing Persons Day is on February 3 each year and shines a light on the thousands of people who go missing on an annual basis. It brings awareness to members of the public about people who are missing – and increases the chances of them being found.
In the UK, over 180,000 people are reported missing each year and Greater Manchester accounts for approximately 20,918 of these. Around 96% of people reported missing are found, with many of these returning home of their own accord.
Sadly, approximately 64 people in Greater Manchester are found deceased each year.
There are a number of reasons someone will go missing, including circumstances that people are trying to escape from, such as abuse, problems at work/school, relationship breakdowns, debt and mental health issues.
The age group with the greatest number of individuals being reported missing in Greater Manchester is 22 to 39-year-olds, with 15 to 17-year-olds generating the greatest number of events – with one individual, on average, going missing three times.
GMP is launching a pilot on Wednesday 1 March 2023 to try to protect these vulnerable people while at the same time reducing demand on ever-increasing stretched resources. It is believed that there will be an approximate reduction of missing events by a huge 30%.
Operation Ambition, led by Inspector Matthew Sheil and Constable Jamie Acton from the Central Manchester district, encourages close working with the staff at the Manchester Royal Infirmary, North Manchester General Hospital and Park House, to ensure people considered genuinely missing are reported.
Explaining in more detail, Constable Acton said: “27% of all public safety incidents including missings at GMP, starts at places where people feel safe such as hospitals like the MRI and North Manchester General.
“At GMP, we are continuing to review and update our policies and strategies when it comes to missing people but the legislation when it comes to reporting is clear. There has to be defined risk and vulnerability identified in a person before reporting.
“The onus will be on the staff to first try and locate the patient, by speaking to family and friends, as well as reviewing any CCTV footage. If all avenues are exhausted, then a sergeant will work closely with partner agencies to assess the capacity, risk and vulnerability of the person in order to establish the most suitable agency to support the vulnerable person.
“To allow this pilot to go ahead, we have trained Response Sergeants on the processes we wish them to follow and they, in turn, will be able to provide valuable support to our partner agencies across CoM North and Central.
“We hope the Pilot will not only reduce the demand on the police but will more importantly allow us to dedicate more time and resources into locating the genuine missings – getting them home safe to their loved ones.”
If you have any information regarding anyone who is missing, you are encouraged to contact GMP by dialling 101 or via the LiveChat function on the website www.gmp.police.uk
Greater Manchester’s Missings Statistics
Click here to see the emotional appeal Michelle Baglin filmed to talk about “my Pete” and urge him to come home.