This article considers a phenomenon of which the prevalence as well as the causes are quite unclear. It refers to individuals who contact the police, or check into hospital (or who are found by members of the public) with real or imagined emergencies only to leave or abscond before any intervention can be implemented. These individuals frequently refuse to give their name or use aliases. They tend to engage repeatedly in this behaviour This article reports on a thematic analysis of the case notes that are kept in the UK Missing Persons Bureau database, in order to shed light on the question of what it is that brings these people to ‘come to notice’ (in police jargon) and why they subsequently seek to evade the attentions of health care and criminal justice agencies. Some thoughts on the reporting and recording and on successful interventions are discussed in the conclusion.
|International Journal of Police Science & Management
|Published - Dec 2014