Scotland

Police Scotland: Missing people cases up by 1,000

Screen grab of missing persons list on Police Scotland website Image copyright Police Scotland

The number of missing people reports investigated by police in Scotland has increased by almost 1,000 in the past year.

Police Scotland said it investigated nearly 23,000 cases in 2017-18, relating to about 12,500 people.

The figure was 4.4% higher than the previous year.

About a quarter of the investigations - 5,833 - involved just 300 people, each of whom had been reported missing at least 10 times.

Police figures showed that of those reported missing, 64% were children, while 24% of investigations involved someone with a mental health issue.

More than 99% of people reported missing were traced alive. About 0.4% were found dead, while 0.1% were not traced.

Police Scotland said people went missing for different and complex reasons.

'Support vital'

Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins said: "Many will go voluntarily, but others may feel it is their only option and some may be in extreme distress.

"We cannot underestimate the impact such cases have on families and people's loved ones, and the support of communities is vital in helping us trace missing persons.

"We are absolutely committed to tracing those who have been reported missing, and our officers and staff work tirelessly in every case to achieve a positive outcome for families."

He added: "While no crime has usually been committed, missing persons investigations are one of the biggest demands on modern policing and can be very challenging."

Community Safety Minister Annabelle Ewing said: "I welcome the publication of these figures and the valuable breakdown they provide into this complex area.

"Last year, I launched the National Missing Persons Framework for Scotland which aims to prevent people from going missing and limit the harm associated with going missing.

"It is clear to see that this information can only help agencies, as they work together, to target support and prevent people from going missing."

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