It is estimated there are more than 315,000 missing person incidents each year in the UK (NCA, 2015), generating a significant amount of activity for police forces. Whilst the majority of missing persons return within a short space of time, a significant number will remain outstanding requiring a focused police response; an important aspect of this will be the search activity. Following consultation with the College of Policing Police National Search Centre (PNSC) and Police Search Advisors (PolSAs), the NCA UK Missing Persons Unit has developed iFIND, an operational tool designed to improve the speed and effectiveness of searches for missing persons.
iFIND is an evidence informed product providing statistical analyses of location information for different categories of missing persons. The categories listed represent those persons who have an increased likelihood of requiring a search response. iFIND is inspired by existing search assistance tools, particularly the UK booklet ‘Missing Persons: Understanding, Planning and Responding’ (colloquially known as the ‘Grampian Research’) produced by Inspector Graham Gibb and Dr. Penny Woolnough in 2007.
iFIND sought to replicate the Grampian Research by using a broader and more recent dataset; it should be viewed as a complementary document to be used in conjunction with the Grampian Research. iFIND provides data on a wider range of missing person categories and reports time located in an alternative format. Feedback from PolSAs and other subject matter experts has shaped the document to ensure it can be applied effectively in a real-time, operational environment.
This booklet will be crucial for all those involved in the search for missing persons to provide an effective and timely response. Use of this booklet will allow for more efficient allocation of police resources, but more importantly it will improve safeguarding responses for victims and their families.