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 79.

    "The last thing we want kids to see is dead bodies"

    Really? Why? Aside from the fact that young children arent going to happen across it while surfing for Disney websites, death is a fact of life and this idea is to aid identification of bodies - both of which can be easily explained, give kids a little credit

  • rate this

    Comment number 78.

    Re comments about kids on here. As retired childrens nurse I can say that kids are often, and usually are, a lot more resilient that some of the adults commenting. They accept things a lot more easily than adults do and for those old enough to know what death actually is it might be a warning. Don't hide your own fears under the guise of caring for kids, you can't protect them from everything.

  • rate this

    Comment number 77.


    I go to work every day, so no, I didn't get it from day time TV unlike yourself sweetie

  • rate this

    Comment number 76.

    Facing the possibility of the death of somebody you loved requires courage, but it is a necessity. This could be a really workable proposal. Could I suggest that rather than photographs, the website contains artists impressions taken from photographs?
    You really need somebody with you if you have to go through the horrific experience of identifying a dead body. I did. I'm just glad my wife came.

  • rate this

    Comment number 75.

    I fail to see why comment 13 has received so many negative reviews, presumably its from parents who would be quite happy for their young ones to see this sort of thing? The same parents who think its OK for their kids to run riot everywhere no doubt?

    I doubt this will be viewing for kids, by that I mean anyone under 16, no matter how many baddies they've shot up on a games consol..

  • rate this

    Comment number 74.


    And when these hurt loved ones find out that a serial killer has been drooling over the pics of their loved ones, how do you think they'd feel then??

    It's not selfishly denying them. . . . .In fact, it's protecting them from this sort of thing. . . . . . There are 2 sides, and it need's to be thought out very carefully before throwing it out there

  • rate this

    Comment number 73.

    Not everyone can die in a bed cared for and surrounded by loved ones. Those who would deny relatives of these people the opportunity to find out what happened and grieve and would leave them lingering on in doubt either don't fully accept death for themselves or are selfishly denying others what they want the opportunity to have for themselves, even a slight chance of finidng out is worth it

  • rate this

    Comment number 72.

    I think it is a good idea. However to avoid any potential upset or misuse why don't they set up a scheme where family members who are searching for missing loved ones can register with the missing person bureau who then can issue them with a login code to access the website. That way only those who want to use the website for the correct purpose can do so.

  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    I think this is a valid service which could provide closure for many grieving families in limbo. You can't not have the service because an extreme minority may abuse it. Also, it would be very easy to add a security feature to stop kids seeing it. I support this.

  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    They need to make sure that pictures can not be copied/lifted from the site. Or they`ll be all over the internet in no time. But it is a good idea, although I`ll not be visiting it. Those pictures freak me out, sorry.

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    Showing photographs of the dead isn't an insult to the dead but it can help the living and it's an insult to the living relatives and friends not to do something that could help them find some kind of closure, sometimes after many years anxiety and pain. for those who think it is dreadful and morbid a word of simple advice...don't look at the site... nobody is forcing you and it's not obligatory

  • rate this

    Comment number 68.


    And i expect you all wonder why there are such horriffic crimes being committed? And THAT was my point. Why 'promote' it?
    It is awful for families of lost ones I agree, but surely there is a more 'sympathetic' and 'safe' way of doing it without promoting it to ghouls

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    We know of gangs that illegaly bring people into the UK, we know a lot of these people end up working in sweat shops, often as slave labour, under fear that if they attempt to escape they'll be killed. And what about those who come in legally but then have their passports taken away from them and are forced into work?
    There's a whole ugly world out there right under our noses!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 66.


    Pictures of dead bodies are all over the net,so its nothing new.There are plenty of sites showing all kinds of awful things.People looking at photos of dead bodies is nothing new.

  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    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.
    You'd rather they were kept hidden & alone in a morgue? I'd rather everyone helped to bring them home - it makes no difference if anyone sees them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 64.


    I think you're right. people need to lighten up a little and stop taking life so seriously. They''ll enjoy it more that way.

  • rate this

    Comment number 63.

    One can only conclude that this topic evokes sensitivities in some folk who clearly do not tolerate light hearted comment intended to balance this rather macabre development. One would not therefore advance suggestions of a name for this proposed web-site on HYS; even though one has several that come to mind.

  • rate this

    Comment number 62.

    7.Birchy - "Many will be illegals, people shipped in and unknown by anyone in the UK....."

    Yeah, right.....and how exactly do you know that? Any evidence or just your gut instinct......please do show us the evidence.......oh, hang on a minute, there isn't any.....as if we knew who they were they wouldn't be unidentified.......

  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    @13 I actually disagree - I don't think we should shield children from death. It's a natural phenomenon, and we seem to have a very weird attitude towards it in the UK. That's because we're privileged enough not to have to deal with it very often.

    Also, it's not like there aren't pictures of dead bodies on the news etc.and I'm sure your kids are looking at worse stuff online!

  • rate this

    Comment number 60.

    For the anti's. Irrespective of the reasons why they have died like this, drunk, homeless, murdered etc. If it was you in this situation would you like to be an unknown slab of meat in a mortuary,buried in a paupers grave with no identification, no one caring/knowing who or what you were,no one to give a damn that you lived. A name gives identiy and without identiy to personalise us we are nothing


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