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A house divided against itself cannot stand: evaluating police perception of UK missing person definition

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This study empirically analyses the definition of a ‘missing person’ for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, which is part of a wider policy concerning missing persons published by the College of Policing (2016). Four hundred six participants (i.e. police officers and civilian staff) were asked for their viewpoint on (a) the suitability of the current definition, (b) the limitations of the definition and (c) components that should be included in a future definition. Sixty-five per cent of participants did not consider the current definition suitable and identified components they considered inappropriate as well as components they wished to add to a missing person definition. The findings are discussed in relation to the wider context of policy process and policy implementation, as well as the need for a coordinated response across public sectors, and comparability between countries within the EU and internationally. This paper advances policy learning by identifying challenges resulting from utilising the policy and concludes with recommendations in order to inform future policy discussions.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Journal on Criminal Policy and Research
Early online date24 Oct 2019
Publication statusEarly online - 24 Oct 2019


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