Our goal is to build a vibrant network of community intelligence teams to identify and implement solutions for helping missing people.

Missing people is a problem that effects every local community and is linked to other social problems like child sexual exploitation, modern slavery, domestic abuse, child sexual abuse, mental health and ‘county lines. The local context is critical to tackling the problem of missing people as it is often the case missing people do not travel far. In one leading study the majority of missing people went missing and were found in a 5-mile radius from the point they went missing.

There were 387,930 reports of missing people in 2016/17 (UK Missing Person Unit). As people go missing multiple times this represented 180,000 individuals, with an estimated 16,920 missing for over a week. Each year about 1 per cent of cases remain unsolved which means that an estimated 1,800 families are left in limbo.

Nearly 1,000 children who were identified as being trafficked or unaccompanied went missing in 2017, with one in five still missing.

Our aims align with the Missing People response to the Policing in the 21st Century White Paper in 2010. They called for a bold vision for tackling missing people that was responsive and accountable to local communities. An approach that draws on the energy, creativity and active participation of individuals in their own communities, particularly through the development of specialist resources. 

Before child protection teams a group of neighbours came together to raise concern for a young girl in the slums of New York over one hundred years ago. She was being abused and was suffering even at a time when life was harsh for many. The community came together identified and implemented solutions and the young girl was removed from danger. The actions of the local community in New York led to the formation of the National Society for the Protection many years later.

The community had a collective efficacy, a shared belief in their ability to organize and execute the courses of action required to make build safer lives.

Achieving change and improving systems is important in building safer communities together. Engaging communities actively in tackling missing people helps to understand the problem. Understanding helps motivate communities to identify and implement solutions to local problems and influence strategic priorities and decisions in relation to missing people. We provide one way for communities to engage at their chosen level in helping missing people.


We offer a free and independent review and investigation service for the families of missing people. Our team of specialists in unsolved murder and serious crime investigations apply innovative solutions to advance missing people cases.

Active Search

Active Search collates all unsolved missing or unidentified people in the UK and Ireland. Our highly interdisciplinary team work together to ensure information is gathered, analysed and turned into action to help solve missing and unidentified people cases.


Local knowledge can be one of the greatest assets in missing people cases. We have developed a model that involves working with volunteers from the local community to harness their knowledge and help advance the cases we are working on.


We are working with the universities of South Wales and Central Lancashire, on a talent development programme. Teams of students take on real world challenges side by side with specialists on unsolved missing people cases.