Children run away for a number of reasons, on most occasions they return home safely. Every situation is different and there are no set rules about when a child should be considered missing.
However, if you have any doubts about whether to contact the police formally to report a child missing, the police will be happy to discuss your concerns and offer advice about what to do.
If your child does not return home when you expect them to and you are worried, in the first instance you should try and find out where they are. Contact relatives or friends to see if they have seen them or know where they are. You should also search your property and local area to see if you can locate them. You should also:
- Try to contact them directly via mobile phone, text or social networking sites (such as Whats App, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.)
- Check their bedroom and any other place where your child might be within the house or building
- Check the garden, garage, sheds, grounds and surrounding area
- Check with their friends, school, neighbours, relatives, work or anyone else who may have any suggestions about where they might be. Ask them to tell you immediately if they hear from the missing person.
However, if your child is missing or has run away from home, you must contact the police. Dial 999 in an emergency situation or call your local police force immediately on 101.
If you cannot locate your child following a telephone and physical search then you should report them missing to the police by dialling 101. You do not have to wait 24 hours before reporting them missing.
You will need to provide the following information:
• Child’s name
• Date of birth
• When, where the child was last seen
• Who they were with
• What he or she was wearing and a description
• Recent photograph
• Any medical history or complications
• The circumstances of when they went missing.