'51%' investigating missing person did not read guidelines

Just over half of the police responsible for assessing risk in missing persons cases have never read the national guidelines on how to handle them, research has shown.

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Missing persons training inadequate, say 49% of officers

Almost half of officers in charge of the initial stages of a missing persons' inquiry said the training they had received to deal with such investigations was not up to scratch.

Police need more training in order to properly deal with missing persons' inquiry, research has shown. Credit: PA

A further 51% admitted they had not read the guidelines on how to handle missing persons cases, according to the findings of a report published by the Centre for the Study of Missing Persons at the University of Portsmouth.

Researchers surveyed 215 police sergeants in a large police force in England. All had been in a senior role for at least five years.

Dr Shalev Greene, one of the authors of the report, said: "Decision-making is all too often subjective and inconsistent. One police sergeant might judge the risk of a set of circumstances as high and another might judge the same circumstances as medium.

"The challenge for policing is to remove such subjective measures, or at least place them within a more objective framework that ensures when the power of hindsight is being applied, the decision still stands up to scrutiny."

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