Every year, over 38,000 people are reported missing in Australia every year. Now, of these 38,000, about 64% of reports are resolved within 24 hours, and 86% are resolved within the first week. This tells us two things:
A) Here in Australia we have a great police force, who work diligently and around the clock to bring families back together.
B) Missingpersoncasesarecommon, and therefore you should know what to do should you ever sight a missing person, or need to report one.
Your first point of contact should always be your local police department, it’s important to note that a missing person report must be filed in person at a police station, and cannot be taken over the phone. According to the Victorian government ‘If you have serious concerns for the safety and welfare of a person, and their whereabouts are unknown, then you can report them missing to your local police immediately, and make a Missing Person Report.’
A common misconception is that you have to wait 24 hours to report someone as missing, however, this is not the case. You can report a person as missing at any time, no matter how long they’ve been missing.
Once you’ve contacted the police, they’ll require as much information as possible in order to best locate the person in question. This information may include:
Personal details of the missing person, including their full name or any aliases they may use, address, age, date of birth, and place of birth.
A photograph of the person, to be as recent and clear as possible.
A full physical description, including any scars or tattoos.
A list of the clothing and footwear the person was last seen wearing.
The person’s last known whereabouts.
Details of any vehicles they may have used.
Any contact details such as phone, email, or bank account details.
Places they may visit should, places they may retreat to for safety reasons. – Details of any medical conditions or treatments that the person has.
Once the report has been entered into the Victoria Police database as a missing person case, you’ll be assigned to a police officer who will work with you to keep you informed on any progress or findings. If the persona remains missing for a long period of time, you can also ask for the assistance of a private investigator, such as us.
On the contrary, what should you do if you see a missing person?
If you see someone who may be missing, even if you are unsure, you still need to contact the police immediately by calling 000. It’s also important once you see the person to not approach them, or try to contain them. As we often say, not every missing person wants to be found, so don’t try to contain the person, leave that for the police. It’s not your job to ensure that they don’t run or leave, it’s your job to report a sighting.
If the person in question does leave, that’s ok, because if they leave by car or public transport, you can advise the police on this. Try your best to remember any number plates, models, and colors of cars, or even where the train or bus you’ve seen them on is heading. Any information you can obtain without endangering yourself is useful and beneficial to the police.
Ultimately, you want to be able to help the police as much as you can on both sides of the investigation. Be it through detailed information or through personal sightings, we want to help them in their investigations, to in turn help bring people home.