Police attitudes in England to return interviews, in repeat missing person cases

Michael Harris, Karen Shalev Greene

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The aim of this article is to examine the attitudes of English police officers to return interviewsof people who are reported missing repeatedly (e.g. three times or more). In additionto a brief police ‘Safe & Well Check’ a return interview is also carried out by a police officer1and seeks to find out where people went and why, in order to identify potential risksto their safety and whether they experienced harm whilst they were missing. A mixedmethodssurvey of 50 constables from one police force in England ran in March 2014,using quantitative and open qualitative questions. Key themes that emerged were individualfrustration at repetition, negativity around usefulness of the interviews, a challengeto involve third sector partners, and development areas in training. Statistical significancewas found in variables relating to officer experience and gender, against viewson interviewing missing people. The article looks at the limited existing literature andmakes recommendations about best practice with return interviews, advocating amulti-agency approach to improve interventions, and better training to improve positivitytowards missing people.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling
Early online date26 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - 4 Oct 2016


  • Missing people
  • public protection
  • police interviews
  • police culture
  • gender


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