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 59.

    I'm not sure that we will find a family member that left the house 50 years ago and never came back - but lets hope this site does!

    just 1 person gaining closure or gaining more informaiton will make the site worthwhile - the more that view the site the better!

  • rate this

    Comment number 58.

    The reason the site is busy is because people reading this article are trying to access it. People always suspect others' motives - but most people are not sickos - they're innocently curious, just like you.

    As for the comment that most people "don't have any business there" - it's not just families of the deceased who may have useful information. The more who look at it the better.

  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    What a breath of common sense. Anything that gives a family closure on a missing family member can only be for the good. They can visit the website if they want to or leave it be if they wish.

    The sooneer the better it is up and running.

    To illage2 at No. 13 - What about the six o'clock news and the pictures of bodies from accidents, wars and crime? Should children be prevented from these?

  • rate this

    Comment number 56.

    53. stereotonic
    It could easily 'feed' depravity in some sick minds and maybe drive them on in their quest of evil.

    The downrating is more for the alarmist nature of your comment rather than the 'cotton woollies' as you call them. If people are inclined towards a 'quest of evil', there are far more interesting sites to go on. This one is just plain boring, which actually is a plus point.

  • rate this

    Comment number 55.

    If I was one of those bodies, especially if I'd been murdered, I'd be happy if a photograph not only identified me but also might jog someon'e memory of having seen me with my killer and could bring them justice. Police descriptions to the public now are too limited " last seen wearing a blue coat in the company of male aged 20-30 with a leather jacket and a beard" doesn't give you a lot to go on

  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    It seems there is an inequality here in death of the missing. The vast majority of the unclaimed are men. (Not all I admit.) What does that tell us about men in society? I don't have a answer and not trying to blame anyone or group. It is just an open question. Perhaps the BBC could run an investigation into it and post a story one day.

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    I'm impressed at 'downratings' of my previous comment. I can't believe there are so many closed minded fluffies out there. If you think everyone will be 'cotton wooly' on this website, you must think again

  • rate this

    Comment number 52.

    Good idea in theory.

    Steps definitely need to be taken to stop photographs being copied from the site and trolled over Facebook, Twitter etc etc...

    Its one thing going on that site to specifically search for a missing person you know, but it would be highly distressing for family or friends happening to chance upon them unexpectedly...

  • rate this

    Comment number 51.

    While it could be very distressing (or pleasurable to the weird) Bodies deserve to be identified as there is nothing else can be done for them and they deserve to be recognised for hwo they were at least. Kids access should be limited but at the same time it could act as a warning of what can happen to them as well. A picture paints a thousand words

  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    Posting images of clothing, and even cosmetically-enhanced corpses, to a limitless audience can only help at least some of the families bereft of a grave to visit. I find it impossible to imagine what life must have been like for relatives of my wife whose daughter vanished more than 50 years ago, and died never knowing what happened to her. Just one identification would make this worthwhile.

  • rate this

    Comment number 49.

    this is a logical step, a good use of the internet and I'm surprised it hasn't been done sooner, after all, the US have been doing this for years

  • rate this

    Comment number 48.

    @44. m59e
    how many sick and depraved idiots will be accessing that site.

    Well the sites running really slow at the moment. Must be lots of kids doing ICT in school right now.

  • rate this

    Comment number 47.

    Its actually quite pathetic to see how many people are more concerned about other people seeing dead bodies than they are about the fact this will help people. To those who say this is bad because people can view dead bodies, WAKE UP, TV, film, and yes the internet already give free access to this kind of thing, and if parents cannot control their children enough to prevent them visiting ONE site.

  • rate this

    Comment number 46.

    #34. DNA is wonderful, but the deceased from pre DNA era (per 1990s) would be difficult to find comparison samples. Especially if an unclaimed corpse has been cremated the DNA extraction is impossible. Photos can be used, but a person who has aged ie. child who's died as an adult, it's a lot harder for photo fit ID. And if clothing as well is badly decomposed then colours and makes are hard to ID.

  • rate this

    Comment number 45.

    This is a great/necessary idea. Death is a reality and needs to be faced by people of all ages. Think its ignorant for people to imply that the police don't make every effort in identifying missing persons. Someone watches too much CSI. The sad fact is most of the people wont have been reported as missing, and the morbid curiosity of many is needed on the off chance they will be recognised.

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    Comments like those from 42, Speedthrills and 25,badnewsbear just show how many sick and depraved idiots will be accessing that site.

    Guaranteed that 99% of visitors would have no business visiting the site (having not lost a loved one).

    I truly hope the site does not allow public comments to be made, that would attract too many sicko's and cause too much offence.

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    I think, in theory this is a good idea. I do however agree with a number of people commenting that access will needed to be policed properly. I think some form of registration should be required in order to restrict underage viewing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    OMG - Thats ME !!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 41.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    I think it is beneficial to show personal effects and clothing of a missing person but I feel showing photos of corpses is a step too far. I know I would not want to see the body of a loved one on a website for all to see.


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