Missing Persons Essay

Words: 2267
Pages: 10

“Outline and Critically Assess the Police use of the Media in Missing Persons Investigations”
In this essay, I will analyse what is a missing person, reasons why persons go missing, critically asses the police use of the media, the media’s role, media and search strategies and senior investigative officer’s (SIO) responsibility.
A missing person is defined by the Association of Chief Police Officers as “Anyone whose whereabouts is unknown whatever the circumstances of disappearance. They will be considered missing until located and their well-being or otherwise established”. (ACPO, 2005: 8) The main objectives in missing person cases are the safe and well recovery of the missing person. And the majority of missing persons turn up
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This phase requires intelligence to search in the right or closest possible place. To assist the SIO in these complex searches, a Police Search Adviser (POLSA) is required to advise and supervise searches.
When dealing with children that go missing, the police class them as high risk from a point they were reported missing. The SIO’s role is to create a search strategy and take into account the likely distance travelled by the child and who they might be with. Children are divided into age groups to help the SIO to make decisions on where to look for and the perimeter of the search cordon. Children are split into different age groups because each individual age group displays similar characteristics and behaviour. By using intelligence obtained in questioning friends and family and searching the premises, it is possible to speculate the area where the missing child may be. Also age groups can estimate the “time-frame” of when the child is reported missing till the child is located.
Standard and instant tactics used by the SIO are to search the missing persons address and their friends & family’s addresses. Simultaneously, house to house enquiries should be carried out by OIC’s to figure out the missing persons last known location as that will be of significant value to the SIO and search & media strategy.
Another tool available to the SIO is the media. The media i.e. internet, TV, and radio can either be supportive or in some cases ineffective. The SIO is