The Effects of Police Cuts on Missing Person Search
Following on from Geoff Newiss’s post on the Missing People blog last week I thought I would write something about how the police cuts are likely to effect the physical search side of missing person incidents.
There is no doubt that missing person’s incidents will be effected. The question is how, and what is your team doing now to react to that?
I had dinner with a close family friend on Friday night, who also happens to be a PolSA. We don’t tend to talk shop much on these occassions – it’s bad for your mental health remember – but somehow we did get around to talking about the cuts and how it would effect missing person search. He could foresee a time when ALSAR teams are just handed over the high-risk misper cases and told to go search because there would be insufficient police resources to even look at it.
If this does become the case, do you really think your team is ready?
It might mean that there would be an increase in callouts – no police resource to even do the initial search/investigation; it might mean that the investigation side is not done, or if it is not reported back in time; it could mean ALSAR teams taking on more of this role too. We train for missing person search – are we ready for dealing with family and friends?
What about the possible increase in the use of neighbourhood watch search teams? With no police resources available to coordinate them – will ALSAR and MR search managers have to do that too?
Like Newiss I can foresee problems with risk assessment – the likelihood of being risk assessed high risk varies from force to force massively already. Police cuts could see this vary even more. Although, this could also be an opportunity!
Are ALSAR teams ready for risk assessment? Do you have training programs in place so you can teach Joe Plod what s/he should be looking for when carrying out a risk assessment? Could you teach control room staff who will increasingly by making these judgements?
Or can you foresee yourself working in partnership with other charities such as Missing People who might take over the bulk of missing person reporting and investigation? Because this is what I can foresee – the reporting of missing persons incidents becoming just a form filling exercise for police officers who would then pass over the “work” of managing and investigating the incident to civilians or outside agencies.
Maybe having foreseen this I should set up my own business to tout for this work? 200,000 reports every year – each one needed at least a couple of hours work; lots of money to be made! But I digress…
Are the police cuts and how they will effect missing person search an agenda item on your committee’s meeting? Have you thought about it? I’d love to hear your thoughts…
April 18, 2011
Â· Robert Bradley Â· One Comment
Tags: ALSAR, Geoff Newiss, Missing People, Missing Persons, Missing Persons Investigation, Missing Persons Search, Neighbourhood Watch Search Teams, Police Cuts Â· Posted in: Search Thoughts