Missing Persons Bureau website aims to identify bodies

Clothing belonging to man found in the Thames in 1989 Pictures of clothing found are also being put on the website

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Pictures of unidentified bodies found across the UK are being put online on a new website that aims to help the authorities track missing people.

The Missing Persons Bureau currently holds records of 1,000 people who have not been identified, some dating back to the 1950s.

Its site will also be used to trace living people, such as those who have suffered memory loss.

Images deemed to be distressing will be marked with a warning.

Members of the public will be able to search cases and provide information online.

As well as the photographs, information under each entry may include an estimate of the age of the person discovered and details of the clothing they were wearing.

Any relevant details supplied by members of the public will given to police forces or the coroner in charge of the case.

Start Quote

It will empower families to play an active part in the search for their loved ones”

End Quote Joe Apps Missing Persons Bureau

The website also includes details of bodies discovered on the Isle of Man and Channel Islands.

The Missing Persons Bureau - which was run by the Met Police until 2008 and is currently a division of the Serious Organised Crime Agency - will become part of the new National Crime Agency next year.

Joe Apps, from the bureau, said: "The aim of the new site is to bring closure to the families and friends of the people featured.

"With new unidentified person cases we rely on modern forensic techniques for identification but on older cases we look to use every tool available and believe that case publicity is the best chance of getting images recognised.

"This will be the first time families of missing people have been able to search through records for themselves and it will empower families to play an active part in the search for their loved ones."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    @5 stereotonic

    You think it will 'feed depravity and drive them on in their quest of evil'? I think you might have been reading too many tabloids/watching to much daytime TV

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    I've not lost anybody, so I can't begin to understand the awfulness of the situation. If this brings closure, then it's a good thing.

    But I can imagine that after a while, there must be some backlash (anger, disgust - I don't know) that pictures of a loved ones corpse has been posted on the internet for all to see.

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    #6. sheeple

    "The government would rather spend billions on illegal wars and creating corpses rather than identifying or preventing corpses."

    Don't you just hate people who try to make political capital out of everything? Did you even read the article?

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    As many before me have put, the difficulty in this is the control of the content, primarily to keep it away from kids. They will need a very good age proofing system unlike most websites which is a simple "select when you were born" option. But if carried out correctly, it could help many obtain closure and finally bring them piece of heart

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    This is a good idea for people who need closure. It's a brave thing to do, as there will be many people criticising the idea.
    The best ideas are usually the bravest.
    You can see whatever you want on the internet if you're that way inclined. This website will have genuine value and parents are responsible for what their kids view.

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    Fully agree with #30

    However, I cannot but despair at the perceived lack of effort on the part of the police to trace the identity of many of these people. There would be fingerprints in thier homes, and friends or family would have described what they were last seen wearing. DNA from hair in brushes or combs would also be available plus photos somewhere.

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    I support this. There may be some issues re the content of the website if, say, little ones saw it. But if it brings closure to people (although it can't bring them back) then it's worth it.

    It's sad that this has to happen, but it should happen.

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    A little worrying that already the website seems to be very busy...

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    To those saying kids shouldn't view this site, have you seen the plethora of zombie films out there? Only in modern Western culture do we deny the reality of death: our dead are whisked away from sight, and if we veer see them again, they've been "made-up" by a mortician. Other cultures face the reality daily. Maybe those stupid "horror" films are popular because people have a need to see death?

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    The only people qualified to comment on this proposal are those who have lost or are seeking lost ones. The rest of us have no idea of the trauma or emotional issues involved.
    Regarding comments on voyeurism - there is enough dross on the internet already to keep voyeurs busy. At least this has a valid purpose and can be marked as "adult only" so it is trapped by ISP and other filters.

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    over 250,000 people reported missing each year, most return/found

    20 missing persons bodys are found each week.

    Some children, especially teenagers would benefit from seeing photos, & seeing what can & does happen to vulnerable children/adults who run away.

    PREVENTING runaways is most vital/important.

    MONSTERS DO EXIST & they specifically prey on vulnerable/missing people

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    A good idea.

    Why should it be accessible only to those with an absolute need.

    We all see dead bodies on the news, magazines, crime dramas.

    If it brings closure to one or two cases, its worthwhile...and no, I am not going to look. I'm not aware of anyone missing.

    Those looking WILL be prepared to the possibility of finding their loved one/friend.

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    I think this would help families to know that other people can see these images as it maybe that someone else knows what has happened to their loved one.

    If I had a missing family member it would help me to believe something is still actually being done to find out what happened.

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    Brilliant idea.

  • Comment number 25.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    A good idea, if anyone does discover a loved one then nothing will make it easy, but at least this will bring closure and help them move on.

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    Anyone who is searching for a lost relative is going to be happy to have another method of searching.

    We need to be using this kind of approach, it can save mega bucks in police hours, and does the job far quicker than if the police were trying to hunt down leads

    We need to get a grip of our sensibilities here, yes it's a dead body, but they were loved and wanted once, and probably still are....

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    I don't know why people seem to think this will be some kind of voyeuristic site. Having looked at it already, in many cases there isn't any kind of facial detail, just a description. The US are well ahead of us on this; they've had websites (run on a voluntary basis) like the Doe Network and Charley Project for years. They've helped solved both missing person cases & unidentified bodies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    It should be a closed site for those who have a need, they could be given a pass code if they are at all interested. I can't see why families etc need spoon feeding before they'll search for their loved ones! It doesn't need to be up there like Youtube or something for all to watch and pass on to their mates 'for a giggle' like kids do! end of. enough of this liberal voyeur society!

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    I think this could be useful, but only if they limit the visuals displayed to sketches of what the deceased look like, along with images of clothing(non blooded etc) & written information.
    This should be enough to prompt family members on seeing a likeness to enquire for further details.

    Images of actual deceased would upset worried family members and fill them with dread.


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