Warwickshire Police launch new team to support missing person investigations
Warwickshire Police has launched a new team to support missing person investigations
The team's main focus will be on supporting investigations into those people who go missing from home or care on more than one occasion and addressing the reasons behind the missing episodes.
The 'Missing Team' consists of five missing person practitioners, a support officer and a missing person coordinator, and will be based at Leamington Police Station.
The team will work with partners to understand and address the reasons people go missing.
They will also put together profile documents on frequent missing people to support frontline officers and allow them to spend more time carrying out physical searches.
Detective Inspector Jill Fowler said: "There are many complex reasons why people go missing. We are very good at finding missing people but it is clear there is more we can do to address the reasons people go missing.
"The team will work with partners to put strategies in place to address underlying issues affecting people who go missing, many of whom are young and experiencing problems. There are numerous factors affecting young people who make a decision to run away from home or care, but this decision can lead to them being at increased risk of harm.
"Our team will be working in a co-located office with Children's Services and Barnardo's to understand the reasons and by working together implement plans to protect them.
"We hope the expertise and work of the team will ultimately lead to a reduction in missing episodes and reduce the demand on frontline officers, allowing them to focus on responding to calls from the public."
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe said: "Ensuring a vulnerable missing person's safety and wellbeing is extremely important but can be highly time and resource intensive. Many of those who go missing do so on multiple occasions, requiring large amounts of police officer time to ensure they are found safely.
"This has a knock-on effect on the police's ability to deal with other incidents, so it is therefore critical that we do all we can to try and understand why people go missing in the first place, to try and reduce the likelihood of them doing so time and again.
"I promised to spend the increases from this year's Council Tax on frontline operational policing and this new team is the latest demonstration of that being put into practice. I hope to see improvements in the way the police and partner agencies work together to protect vulnerable people, with reduced numbers of repeat missing people which in turn will help free up front line officers to deal with other important policing priorities."