Exploring the boundaries of missing persons: hidden interplay between policing and private entities in relation to cases on the periphery

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Abstract

This discursive article explores the argument that, by gently tweaking core parameters of what it means to be a missing person - specifically relating to definition and risk- that the role played by private organisations and entities in managing the missing persons problem can be interrogated. The examination begins by inquiring into the extent to which police take ownership of missing persons as an issue, utilising net-widening and pluralisation concepts to investigate the limits of the police role. To inquire into the role of definitional widening, the case of lost children in commercial spaces is used, arguing that private providers are routinely responsibilised with managing lost child cases that would otherwise enter into missing person statistics. To explore tweaks to the definition of risk in relation to missing, the debtor tracing industry is explored. The final argument is made that further exploration of the periphery of ‘missingness’ ought to be undertaken.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalPolicing
Early online date5 Oct 2019
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online - 5 Oct 2019

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