The blue light social services? Responding to repeat reports to the police of people missing from institutional locations

Carol Hayden, Karen Shalev Greene

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

The issues that arise in responding to repeat reports to the police of people missingfrom institutional locations (such as hospitals, mental health units and children’sresidential care) are the focus of this article. This focus relates to the broader issueof policing vulnerability and the concepts of ‘duty of care’, ‘safeguarding’ and ‘risk’ asthey apply to role of the police in their response to missing people. The current studyis based on research on 1,321 missing persons cases that were closed in 2011;these cases came from 149 institutional locations in a police force in central Englandand account for nearly half of all repeat reports to the police in this force area. Thetop ten organisational addresses accounted for over a quarter (27.6%, 364 of 1,321) of the repeat reports over a one year period. Seven of these organisationaladdresses are private children’s care homes (275 reports, 75.5% of the top 10reporting locations) and three are mental health units (89 reports, 24.5% of the top10 reporting locations). The cost to the police of responding to reports from these 10locations is estimated to be between £482,250 to £879,060. The article highlightsthat a significant part of police work on missing people relates to institutionallocations that present the police with different types of potential risk.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-61
Number of pages38
JournalPolicing and Society
Volume28
Issue number1
Early online date28 Jan 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016

Keywords

  • missing people
  • police
  • institutional locations

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