Sunday, 29 April 2012

Thought of the Day (aka rant): The focus on one missing child lately (Which i don't deny is a terrible thing) led me to wonder how many UK citizens under the age of 18 are currently missing.  I wanted to know why some receive a vast amount of media attention whilst others do not.  

Apparently the answer is not easy to find.  The UK missing Kids's database ( lists 184 children (83 females, 101 males) that have gone missing in the last 20 years however it relies on accurate information from the police.  18 children went missing from the UK in the last year.

Kate Leaman, from Sky News, asked the same question back in 2088.  In her article she quotes Lady Catherine Meyer, founder of Parents and Abducted Children Together.
"It is impossible to obtain an accurate picture of the scale and nature of the problem. There is no single centralised place to collect missing persons data."
"We can't establish for certain how many children are missing.You'd have more chance of finding a stray dog" she said.
Alan Blackburn from the Police National Missing Persons Bureau, based at Scotland Yard, is unhappy that the police do not respond quicker by passing on missing persons' information.
"There is some under-reporting by police forces, some don't send it when they should do, some don't send it at all," he said.
"It takes 14 days before any case is considered serious and labelled 'long term missing'. 
"There are so few missing children's photos on the official website, I am encouraging the police force to pass on photos and share information from the outset."
Although his unit is directly responsible, he too doesn't know how many missing children there are - although he is eager for a change.

I still haven't answered my original question, but in looking for an answer i'm found a much bigger issue.  Surely a nation who is responsible for it's citizens should have accurate figures of those who are lost.  I haven't even got on to those missing over the age of 18, which is even more under reported by the media and is no less any tragic than a missing child.  No one should be missing but when they are we should do everything we can to try and find them.  I think accurate and centralised missing persons site for the UK is the place to start. 

You can read the full article at this address

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