Missing people is a problem that affects every community. With over 4,000 unsolved cases over a year old and over 1,000 unidentified people across the United Kingdom, this is not a problem that can be solved by one group or organisation alone. The challenge requires people with time and talent to come together and help.
The police respond to more than 300,000 reports of missing people every year. The UK police chiefs estimated that over 3 million hours of investigation each year are applied to missing person cases. Many of you will have seen the BBC Series Reported Missing, witnessing the tireless efforts of police and volunteers responding to reports of missing people.
But what happens after the helicopters, search and rescue teams and media move on and the missing person has not been found.
The challenge to improve long term missing person investigations was set for us by four mothers whose sons disappeared one day and have never been found. Their experience reporting their sons missing was not positive. Yet despite this, they passionately want to find ways to help the police where investigations remain unsolved.
Much of our work over the last year has been developing our teams in universities across the UK and overseas. However, we have been inspired by the people who joined us from all parts of the community. Caroline has supported families of missing people for many years. A career as an IT and Tech specialist was cut short by Spinocerebellar Ataxia. Caroline volunteers every day with our teams and manages Active Search using her experience from years in IT and Tech development.
The Missing Podcast is at the forefront of participatory media and tells the story of missing persons every week. It is an opportunity to reach new people who may never have considered they could help.
There are so many brilliant people who already apply their skills to help.
You could be one of them.
However much time you have and whatever your experience, there are lots of opportunities to volunteer.