Hope for the missing

Hope for the missing

Issued: Mon, 15 May 2017 13:35:00 BST

Professor Hester Parr of the University of Glasgow has played a key role in the launch of the National Missing Persons Framework for Scotland. 

Professor Parr (Geographical and Earth Sciences) was the PI for the ‘Geographies of missing people’ research project from 2011-2014 and has led the research impact legacy of this internationally unique work. The project centred on the collection of testimony from returned missing people in order to understand more about their experiences and decision-making while they were absent. The findings have been used to train specialist search officers in the internationally renowned ‘Police National Search Centre’ between 2013-2017.

Professor Parr was invited to join the Scottish Government Working Group to influence the parameters of the first National Missing Persons Framework for Scotland 2014-2017 and which culminated in its launch on the 10 May at a specially convened event on ‘Returned missing persons’ (#Returnedmissing). This event was the third part of a series of ‘national conversations’ on returned missing people with the first two being held in London and Cardiff.

One highlight of the event was the launch of the Framework by MSP Annabelle Ewing, Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs. Ms Ewing, a UofG graduate, has the portfolio for missing people in Scotland. Listen to her reflections on the importance of the Framework:

A key recommendation of the original research was the necessity of effective ‘return discussions’ with trained professionals to help prevent future missing persons cases: 39% of all annual missing persons incidents result in repeated episodes. The Framework now includes clear guidance on return discussions and the Minister is overseeing the development of new training resources for Scotland in this area.

Professor Parr said ‘I have been overwhelmed with the positive messages that emerged on the day of the launch about the significance of this milestone for the people of Scotland. This Framework helps those professionals who work in different sectors begin to standardise the response to - and support of - returned missing people. It helps also to emphasise that engaging with returned missing people is not just the responsibility of Police Scotland’.