The most publicised reminders of inaccurate risk classification by police officers dealing with missing person’s reports come from cases where the missing person was presumed to have runaway but was later found to have met with foul play. Fortunately, such occurrences are extremely rare. Despite this, there is still enormous pressure on the officer taking the initial missing persons report to ask the right questions, assess possible risk factors, make a judgement about what may have happened to the missing person and then allocate appropriate resources—all within a timely manner. For all police officers, and for every missing person report made, the task is complex. No research has been conducted in the area of misclassifications of risk when a new missing person report is received, so the true numbers remain unknown. Given the high numbers of missing persons reports that are made on a daily basis, this chapter will work towards helping all police officers make an informed and hopefully confident assessment of risk that has a high degree of reliability.
- Missing persons
- Foul play
- Risk assessment
- Police response
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Acknowledgement is extended to Prof. Don Thompson for his involvement in the research project. I would also like to thank Dr Matthew Thomas for his kind support and academic advice.
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Foy, S. (2016). A Profile of Missing Persons: Some Key Findings for Police Officers. In: Morewitz, S., Sturdy Colls, C. (eds) Handbook of Missing Persons. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-40199-7_2
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