Where do missing people go?

University of Glasgow researchers led an investigation into the journeys of people reported missing who have now returned. Through a deeper understanding of where missing people go and their experiences, researchers are helping support organisations to improve their services.

Over 250,000 adults are reported missing in the UK each year and very little is known about where they go and what happens to them. Researchers are working closely with the UK Missing Persons Bureau, the Scottish Institute for Policing Research, the Metropolitan Police and Police Scotland. The £435K project, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and led by Dr Hester Parr in collaboration with the University of Dundee, recruited returned missing people via the police partner database in order to gain qualitative information about where people go. This project is the first in-depth study into the reasons people go missing, by interviewing those who return to understand more about why, how and where people journey to when they are reported missing.

'These are stories that we have to hear. We must learn from them. All our current and new staff and volunteers will hear these recordings and read the transcripts, and they will bring their training to life.' Research Manager of the UK Missing Persons Bureau

The results of this research are contributing to numerous police evidence-based forums, international meetings and workshops as well as face-to-face training courses for specialist search officers connected to the Police National Search Centre.

The University is working with the support of the UK’s Missing Persons Bureau to develop training materials that contribute to developing the skills of both general and specialist officers involved in missing persons investigations.

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Media enquiries: ross.barker@glasgow.ac.uk / +44 (0)141 330 8593