Disclosure Details

Absent/missing - 219/16

Dated: 22 Mar 2016

Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')

Thank you for your e mail dated 12 February 2016 in which you made a request for access to certain information which may be held by Northumbria Police.

As you may be aware the purpose of the Act is to allow a general right of access to information held at the time of a request, by a Public Authority (including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.

You asked:

Please provide details of the force’s policy on recording people as "absent" rather than missing:

1. is there a set time limit before the record shifts to missing?

2. do you have age limits?

3. can children be recorded as "absent"?

4. can Looked After Children be recorded as "absent"?

5. can those missing on a first occasion be recorded as "absent"?


For each of the following questions please provide answers and figures for current date, and, if possible, for a fixed date of your choosing in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.

6. Do you have a dedicated Missing Persons Team in the force?

7. If so how many officers are involved?

8. (If not how many Missing Persons coordinators are there in the force?)

9.  Do you have a dedicated Burglaries team in the force?

10. If so how many officers are involved?

11.  Do you have a dedicated Traffic and Roads policing team in the force?

12.  If so how many officers are involved?

13.  Do you have dedicated Anti-Trafficking team in the force?

14. If so how many officers are involved?

To clarify for question 2 I mean is there an age limit below which you will not assign someone as "absent" but rather put them down as missing.

For questions 7, 10, 12 and 14 I simply would like to know how many full time police officers (any rank) are assigned to each of those teams.


We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention.

Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with the Crime and HR Departments of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police

I am able to disclose the located information to you as follows.

1. An absent person is reviewed every 8 hours by a Sergeant until 72hrs when a 24/7 Inspector conducts a full risk assessment and decides whether to retain as absent or escalate to missing.

2. No person aged 11yrs or under can be absent.

3. A child can be recorded as absent but no one age 11yrs or under can be absent.

4. A looked after child can be recorded as absent.

5. Yes

6. We do not have a dedicated missing persons team.  Missing from home enquiries would fall to uniformed resources in the respective Area Command from which the individuals are missing. 

7. N/A

8. There are currently 3 Missing Person Coordinators.  The key elements of this role are:-

To support and assist the force in managing missing person enquiries.

Work in partnership with local authority homes to improve practice and enhance the safeguarding response to protect the most vulnerable, in particular those vulnerable to exploitation.

Identify and research trends within missing person investigations and wider safeguarding issues and direct resources to prevent or intervene on issues that impact upon the safeguarding of an individual.

Act as the primary point of contact and in some cases single point of contact for the force.

Provide continuous learning and professional development of first responders to reports of missing.

9.  Yes

10. 22

11.  Yes.  Within Northumbria this is referred to as Motor Patrols and includes both Road Safety and Roads Policing functions.

12.  124.5

13. We are taking it that at this point you are referring to Human Trafficking and our response below reflects that.

Northumbria Police does not have a dedicated anti- trafficking team; however, Operation Sanctuary has been established as an additional response from the Force to sexual offences and officers in that team may be required to investigate allegations of trafficking dependent upon the circumstances prevalent at that time.

All trafficking offences (where the trafficking was for the purposes of sexual exploitation) would be dealt with by Operation Sanctuary and complex investigations into human trafficking (where the trafficking was for the purposes of modern slavery) would be dealt with by Operation Sanctuary. The main responsibilities of Operation Sanctuary are as follows:-

Support investigation into sexual exploitation by obtaining evidence from victims of sexual exploitation in accordance with the SIO’s strategy and national guidelines for victim interviewing.

Support investigations by partnership working with agencies to obtain third party material.

To maintain close liaison with Area Command Officers. Promote good relationships, providing support and advice where necessary.

To maintain close liaison with Childrens and Adults Social Care and other relevant third and voluntary sector organisations. Promote good relationships, providing support and advice where necessary.

Attend multi agency strategy meetings, share information and agree what action is required to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child or vulnerable adult, including the conduct and timing of a criminal investigation.

In some instances attend initial child protection and review child protection conferences in order to share information and decide what action is required in order to safeguard and promote the welfare of a child.

14. As mentioned above, Northumbria Police do not have a dedicated anti trafficking team however the authorised establishment for Operation Sanctuary is as follows:-

  1 D/Superintendent

  2 D/Inspectors

11 D/Sergeants

23 DCs

  1 Analyst

  1 Researcher

It should be noted that on 01/04/16 the Sanctuary resource numbers will  increase by the following.

  2 D/Sergeants  

17 DCs

  1 Analyst

  1 Researcher


Due to the different methods of recording information across 43 forces, a specific response from one constabulary should not be seen as an indication of what information could be supplied (within cost) by another.  Systems used for recording these figures are not generic, nor are the procedures used locally in capturing the data.  For this reason responses between forces may differ, and should not be used for comparative purposes.

The information we have supplied to you is likely to contain intellectual property rights of Northumbria Police.  Your use of the information must be strictly in accordance with the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (as amended) or such other applicable legislation.  In particular, you must not re-use this information for any commercial purpose.

How to complain

If you are unhappy with our decision or do not consider that we have handled your request properly and we are unable to resolve this issue informally, you are entitled to make a formal complaint to us under our complaints procedure.

If you are still unhappy after we have investigated your complaint and reported to you the outcome, you may complain directly to the Information Commissioner’s Office and request that they investigate to ascertain whether we have dealt with your request in accordance with the Act.