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About 13 people go missing each day in West Mercia, new figures reveal

By Jonny Drury | Crime | Published:

On average more than 13 people per day were reported missing in the West Mercia Police force area in 2018, according to new figures.

From January to December, the force recorded a total of 4,978 missing person reports, which on average equates to just over 13 different reports per day.

The information has come from a Freedom of Information request with the force.

As of January 7 this year, the force still has a total of 33 unresolved cases on their files, with the oldest case dating all the way back to 1966.

Of the three murder cases since 2003 which have involved a missing person, two have involved convictions of the offenders.

Chief Inspector Graham Preece, West Mercia Police portfolio lead for missing people, explained how the force goes about investigating a missing person, and how the resources change depending on the risk.

He said: "Our absolute priority is protecting people from harm and every single person reported missing to police is risk assessed to establish if they could be at risk of serious harm, and police will resource such operations appropriately.

“Where it is deemed that person could be at a high risk of harm, we can access a significant array of resources to help find them, which can include utilising police search advisers, our safer neighbourhood teams, patrol officers, and where appropriate the national police air service, our dog section, volunteer search and rescue teams, fire and rescue colleagues and other partners.

“An appropriately resourced investigation will take place alongside the physical search element to identify opportunities to trace and locate the missing person, this will be led by an inspector and or a senior detective, dependent on the level of risk perceived, and reviewed regularly.

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“The risk posed to a missing person can change based on information that comes to light and we will regularly review reports of missing people to make sure the actions we are carrying out, and the resources deployed remain proportionate to that risk, balanced against ongoing policing demand.”

It comes as a six part series highlighting the work that goes in to finding missing people in Dyfed-Powys is set to begin.

A range of cases are set to feature on the new S4C series Ar Goll, which follows the work of call handlers and incident managers who deal with the initial response to missing people reports, to the policing teams that do all they can to find them and ensure they are safe.

Last year in the force area, 3,030 reports were made of missing people, with 688 missing people under 18 reported.

The series will begin at 7pm on Wednesday.

Jonny Drury

By Jonny Drury
@JonnyDrury_Star

Senior reporter covering Oswestry and Mid Wales.

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