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More help for missing people and their families

More help for missing people and their families

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 23 March 2010

New measures to help missing people and their families were outlined by the Home Office today.

The measures, which include better sharing of data between police, councils, charities, health authorities and the families of the missing, were recommended in a report by the Missing Person's Taskforce, which was created specifically to explore ways of improving services.

All its recommendations have been accepted by the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister, who jointly launched the taskforce in December, and will now be developed into an action plan.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said:

"The Government accepts fully all the recommendations of this report by the Missing Persons Taskforce. These include plans to make sure families are getting the right support and making sure all the agencies involved in dealing with missing people such as charities, police and health practitioners, are sharing information with each other.

"Having only recently met with families who are suffering the pain of losing a loved one and heard their deeply moving stories, I know how important this is."

Home Office minister Alan Campbell, who chairs the Taskforce, said:

"When someone goes missing it can have a terrible effect on the individual and their family and I'm confident that these practical measures will lead to real improvements in the services offered to both.

"A strong, co-ordinated response is essential from all partners. There is more to do, but these recommendations are an important step in the right direction."

Missing People chief executive Martin Houghton-Brown said:

"This is a landmark report for missing people and their families. The government's commitment to providing the new support that is so desperately needed in every missing person's case is very welcome.

"The report highlights the vital work that charities across the country are doing for vulnerable missing adults and children and for their families left behind and, crucially, reinforces the role that these charities have to play."

Chief Constable Peter Neyroud, chief executive of the National Policing Improvement Agency, said:

"We welcome the report by the Missing Persons Taskforce. It provides an important blueprint for the way in which the police service, working with our key statutory and third sector partners, will improve the joined-up approach to missing person cases.

"The Taskforce's recommendations strengthen our remit as the national agency at the heart of missing person inquiries and we eagerly anticipate the positive effects these changes will make on missing people and their families." ?

The new recommendations include:

* a national model of information-sharing to facilitate better sharing of data between police, local authorities, charities and health services on missing individuals;

* a single point of contact for families in police forces, local authorities and health authorities, ensuring families and practitioners know where to turn and that there is a joined-up response; and

* better training for police, social workers, charity case workers and health professionals to deal with missing people and their families

Alongside these improvements the Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre (CEOP) will assume responsibility for missing and abducted children from the Missing Person's Bureau. As part of this, CEOP will shortly pilot a service with police forces to help review their long-term missing children cases.


NOTES TO EDITORS

1. To view the report, log on to the Home Office website at www.homeoffice.gov.uk

2. The Missing Person's taskforce is a unique body bringing together those with experience of dealing with the issues around missing people: police, key charities, national and local government departments, health practitioners and the families of the disappeared.

3. Around 140,000 are children and young people. Most return safely within a short time, but a significant number run away from abuse and have nowhere safe to return.

4. The work of the Taskforce highlighted that there was a need to examine ways to improve the response to cases of missing persons and ensure barriers to the most efficient response should be properly investigated.

5. For interviews with Taskforce chairman and Home Office minister Alan Campbell, call the Home Office press office on 020 7035 3535.

6. Missing People's chief executive Martin Houghton-Brown is also available for interview. To arrange call the Missing People press office on 020 8392 4510 or email pr@missingpeople.org.uk.

Contacts:

Home Office Press Office
Phone: 020 7035 3535
NDS.HO@coi.gsi.gov.uk

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