26 September 2023

Missing persons quest no mystery to police

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The Queensland Police Service (QPS) has used the recent National Missing Persons Week (1-7 August) to shed light on the processes used to find missing people.

Detective Senior Sergeant at the QPS, Adrian Lange said that, in 2020, 8,058 people were reported missing to the QPS and most were found within a short period of time.

“Anytime someone has concerns for your safety or welfare, and your whereabouts are unknown, they are able to report that to police so we can start investigating,” Detective Senior Sergeant Lange said.

“There is no minimum time period to wait before reporting someone missing to police and it doesn’t matter how old they are.”

He said each missing person report involved a response from multiple officers on different levels, unique to the circumstances of their disappearance, and these officers worked on different lines of inquiries to find the person.

“Throughout the QPS, the majority of officers and units intersect with missing persons’ work, from specialist units like Polair to general duty officers exploring initial inquiries, as well as search and rescue trained staff,” Detective Senior Sergeant Lange said.

“The Missing Persons Unit oversees all missing people cases and consists of 10 multi-skilled police officers,” he said.

“The Unit provides support to frontline police throughout the State in the form of specialised searches with financial, insurance institutes, overseas inquiries and other intelligence systems at the Unit’s disposal.”

Detective Senior Sergeant Lange said the Missing Persons Unit was also responsible for long-term missing persons within Queensland and liaised with Homicide’s Cold Case Unit for long-term suspicious missing persons’ cases.

“Once someone is missing for more than three months, they are classified as a long-term missing person,” he said.

“At this point, police will provide the National Missing Persons Coordination Centre with profile information for inclusion on the Australian Public Register.”

He said people reported missing were not in trouble.

“We want people to remember that our priority is to find people and make sure they’re safe if they’ve been reported missing,” Detective Senior Sergeant Lange said.

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