Missing People

Definition of a Missing Person

Anyone whose whereabouts are unknown and: 

  • This is out of character
  • The circumstances suggests the person may be subject to crime
  • They are a  risk of harm to themselves
  • They are a risk of harm to another



Definition of a person classed as absent

A person not where they are expected or required to be; but there is no apparent risk.


To a missing or absent person:

Call police on 101

Visit your local station

Speak to an officer or PCSO


Remember: in an emergency call 999.


Durham Police treat reports of missing people very seriously and devote a considerable amount of time and resources to our efforts to locate those people.


What will police ask?

Questions could include:
  • Details of family and friends
  • Places that the  person is known to frequent, (work, school, social groups)
  • Health or medical conditions that they may have
  • Financial details (access to money, such as bank account, credit and debit card details)
  • Do they receive any benefits? If yes, how are they paid? Do they collect them in person?
  • A number of recent photographs
  • Has anything happened that could be linked with their disappearance?
  • DNA sample DNA sample (i.e. their toothbrush), don't worry this is normal practice




as part of our search we will ask for permission to search the home address  of the missing person. This is normal procedure as it help us to see if there are any leads to help with the search.

Also we will require your permission for publicity. This means we can share information with the media. We find that issuing an appeal can be of great benefit.


What can I do?

You need to act quickly:

  • Search
    • where were they last seen
    • could they be hiding i.e. child hiding under the bed
    • could they have fallen, injuring themselves or taken ill


  • Children can hide in very small spaces.
    • they can find unusual places to hide
    • think that it's a game and not come out of hiding
    • they could even fall asleep while hiding


  • Search areas they are known to go.


  • Look out for any clues.
    • for example, they have taken their games console. Are they at a friends house?


  • Message.
    • Text
    • Voicemail
    • Note
    • E-mail


  • Contact family members, friends and the person’s place of work to verify that they are actually missing and not simply somewhere unexpected.



Your searches

Let us know what you have done, note down:

  • Phone calls - Who, When, Response
  • Anything out of the ordinary/suspicious


This helps us to see what has been done and also assist us to keep track of what still needs to be done.



Most people who go missing return, or are found within 48 hours, with only around 1% still remaining.






Helplines and charities

Non-governmental organisations that can provide help and information after or before you contact the police.
Missing People
We have been supporting the families and friends of missing people for more than 20 years. Many of these families have told us that it is difficult to find someone to talk to who understands, and that often people are shocked or don’t know what to say when they tell them that a loved one is missing.

Contact Details
Website - www.missingpeople.org.uk
Telephone - 116 000
Email: 116000@missingpeople.org.uk  

TextSafe® is part of Missing People. TextSafe®is a way for us to reach out to a vulnerable missing child or adult and let them know that our confidential helpline services are available to them. By requesting a TextSafe®, you are triggering a text message which will be sent to their mobile phone explaining how they can get in touch with us for free, 24/7.
Contact details
Website: www.missingpeople.org.uk
Tel: 116 000
Email: 116000@missingpeople.org.uk