Missing Children Publication Hub

The publications in this section contain the results of our research as well as curated research on topics and issues relevant to missing children in Europe and the world. Example of the type of research you can find are understanding the causes of the different types of missing children cases in Europe, policy on missing children, search and rescue operations and family support. The menu and submenu options below will help you find what you're looking for.

If you'd like to share relevant research with us, please send the title, a link and description of the research to info@missingchildreneurope.eu.

Missing Children Publication Hub

Search and Rescue

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Searching (by Colin Hope)

Managing and responding to the report of a missing person is potentially one of the most challenging aspects of modern policing. Investigations can become complex, are often lengthy and may necessitate the involvement of a considerable range of expertise and a high volume of resource from both the professional and the volunteer sector. 
Effective searches remain a critical part of many missing person investigations. Options for search will vary in terms of complexity of the case and available officer expertise. However, in all cases, a search is intended to locate the missing person, to identify any information that may lead to their discovery and to establish whether a crime has been committed against the missing person. Therefore strategies and tactics used when searching for a missing person must be proportionate and appropriate to the circumstances of the ‘missing’ episode. Searches can last from a few minutes to many days or weeks; effective management and control is critical throughout. 
The UK Police Service has the benefit of trained and specialist search resources. Primarily, the Police Search Advisor (PolSA) will be engaged to provide advice regarding appropriate search strategies and tactics. The PolSA has a strong awareness of asset capability within the police service and the support that is available from Search and Rescue Organisations, commercial bodies and the academic community.  
In this paper, the search response of the UK Police service in such cases will be introduced with reference to a specific case involving a missing adult female. Search strategies employed during a search of a remote part of northern England will be discussed. In addition, lessons learnt where the effectiveness of the police search response has been criticised, are identified. 
New planning tools and technologies that are being developed and deployed to support search planning will also be touched upon.   


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