Presentation on theme: "Missing Persons: Practitioner Research to National Practice SIPR Annual Conference 2010 Dr Penny S. Woolnough CPsychol FRSA Missing Persons: Practitioner."— Presentation transcript:
Missing Persons: Practitioner Research to National Practice SIPR Annual Conference 2010 Dr Penny S. Woolnough CPsychol FRSA Missing Persons: Practitioner Research to National Practice SIPR Annual Conference 2010 Dr Penny S. Woolnough CPsychol FRSA
Open any newspaper in any country on any day of the week....
What is a missing person? Someone who doesn’t come home? Someone who doesn’t turn up at an expected time / location? Do they themselves know they are missing? In whose mind are they missing? Lost vs. Missing Encompasses a wide variety of circumstances
What happens to them - outcomes? Majority - Located or turn up safe Minority - Accident Abduction Homicide Attempted Suicide Completed Suicide
What is the extent of the problem? How many people are reported missing? UK ‘Missing People’ Charity estimates 300,000+ Average of 822 per day 16 per police force each day 34 every hour
Need for an intelligence-led approach: Little information / guidance for front line officers Supervisors have minimal guidance on how to risk assess Resource management can be unfocused and directionless Need specialist training for PolSA’s An absence of general intelligence prevents some incidents being declared critical at an early stage Senior officers lack a solid evidence-base against which to defend decisions
But, how do we know if we are dealing with a ‘normal’ missing person….....or something more serious?
Risk Assessment Clinical Risk Assessment: Expert decision making / Often unreliable / used by police at present / dependent on experience / knowledge. Actuarial Risk Assessment: Uses data to look at the probability of risk / but draws on historical data - there is always the exception which does not fit data!
Programme of Research Content analysis of 2200 closed missing person cases from across the UK over a seven year period Content analysis of approx 300 suicide / undetermined deaths Introduction of detailed cancellation procedure (ongoing SIPR funded) 2 databases (general missing persons & suicides)
Missing 8 year old girl 1804 hrs mother reported her daughter had not come home from School. It was dark, very cold and snowing heavily. Home School The data suggest 8 year old girls missing from school will be found within 1km kilometre of the school walking in the street!
1000 m Circle Place Missing From - School Place Found 850 m
Priority Curve Missing boys aged 9 – 13 years Child reported missing – 3pm Time
Priority Curve Missing boys aged 9 – 13 years 2 hrs. 40 min (50% - 17:40) into the missing episode
Priority Curve Missing boys aged 9 – 13 years 6 hrs. 40 min (70% - 21:40) into the missing episode
Priority Curve Missing boys aged 9 – 13 years 21 hrs. 40 min. into the missing episode 90%
If the missing person is not found at the ‘probable’ places it can quickly be concluded that the case is certainly out of the ordinary..................suicide...abduction...murder?
Suspicious missing persons... No body….. Accident Suicide Homicide?
Benefits of an Actuarial Approach - Operational Helps quickly identify cases out of the ordinary Facilitates early warning and involvement of Detective officers Allows us to use appropriate investigative techniques Facilitate decision making re. Child Rescue Alert
Benefits of an Actuarial Approach – Politics Informs policy log Provides an evidence base More defensible actions / decisions
Human Cost The rapid location of a missing person may significantly minimise their risk of harm as well as the associated stress to family members and friends Financial Cost £ Saving just 60minutes of a police officers time (@£25 per hour for each of the 300,000 annual missing person cases would save the UK Police Service £7,500,000 every year £ Many missing person enquiries cost in excess of £20,000 case, Some incur costs amounting to millions of pounds.
A collaborative research process - research with and for the police Joint working of academics and practitioners yields a better product Draw on the experiences and perspectives of practitioners with the benefit of academic robustness Strongly rooted in the pressing concerns of day-to- day practice (particularly important in current economic environment) Can complement larger scale projects or explore issues not touched on by more traditional research
Benefits for practitioners Acquire research skills and tools Increased confidence Increased respect from colleagues A regenerated interest in their own profession / greater interest in professional development Enjoyable experience despite extra work / effort
Dr Penny Woolnough CPsychol FRSA Senior Research Officer Grampian Police Police Headquarters Queen Street Aberdeen AB10 1ZA United Kingdom +44 1224 305136 firstname.lastname@example.org