Research and information

A collection of current knowledge about the issue of missing as well as our research reports, projects, collaborations and events.  

Understanding the reasons why people go missing and the impact on families left behind enables Missing People and our partners to provide better services.

Missing People’s research team conducts research and evaluation projects on a range of topics, and seeks to share the findings through these web pages. 

The Policy and Research team also provides a hub of information about missing, advocates for change through campaigns and policy work, and monitors and evaluates the charity's impact.

Missing News

The Policy and Research team circulates a regular newsletter, Missing News, containing up to date information about research, policy, events and sector developments. To sign up to Missing News, or to read previous editions, click here.

What is 'missing', who goes missing and key statistics relating to the issue.

Missing - key numbers

How many people go missing each year?

An estimated 135,382 individuals were reported missing in England and Wales in 2015/16.

Data for Scotland and Northern Ireland was not included in the National Crime Agency statistics for that year. The National Missing Persons Framework for Scotland esitmates that 30,000 missing person reports are made to Police Scotland each year.

These numbers do not currently include those children who were recorded as 'absent' by the police. In addtion to this, not all missing people are reported to the police at all so these numbers may in fact be significantly lower than the reality.

How many missing incidents are there?

In 2015/16 242,190 missing incidents were recorded by the police in England and Wales.

The discrepancy between the number of individuals and number of incidents is due to people who go missing on multiple occasions. In 2015/16 just under half of the total missing incidents were attributable to people go missing repeatedly.

How long do people go missing for?

The majority of people who go missing will return or be found within 24 hours (79%), only 2% will remain missing for longer than a week.

Children and young people: 53% of children go missing for less than 8 hours. 81% for less than 24 hours. 98% for less than a week.
Adults: 53% of adults go missing for less than 8 hours, 76% for less than 24 hours, 97% for less than a week.

Adults are likely to be missing for longer periods than children.

Further details regarding missing people reported to the police can be found in UK Missing Persons Bureau Missing Persons Data Report.


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