What do to when someone goes missing

If you think someone is missing, conduct a brief ‘open door’ search of the address, grounds and outbuildings, to see if you can find them. If they are not where they should be, and you think this is unusual or that they might not be safe, then you should report them missing.

You can do this at any time, you do not have to wait 24 hours.

Dial 101, the police non-emergency telephone number, and tell them that you would like to make a missing person report. If you are very concerned for the person’s welfare or believe they are in immediate danger, dial 999 and ask for the police.

Tell the police operator if you have a specific concern for the missing person. An example would be if they are living with dementia, have a learning disability or take regular medication. If the person has been missing before, let the police operator know as a record of them may already exist and can be updated.

If you have already filled in a Life History or Herbert Protocol form, tell the police operator as this information can be used to help with the search.

Download a Life History Form.

If you don’t have a Life History or Herbert Protocol form, you may be asked to do the following:

  • Provide the full name and date of birth of the person who has gone missing
  • Provide a description of the person including what they look like and what they were wearing
  • Provide information about any medication that they might be taking
  • Advise where you last saw them and what they were doing
  • Provide a recent, close-up photograph of the person
  • Provide a list of places that the person may have previously lived, worked, frequently visited or socialised

This information to officers on patrol that can start looking for the person.

Missing People Helpline

When someone you know goes missing, it can be a very traumatic experience.

Missing People is here for families and friends left behind, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and provides free and confidential support.

All of our services are accessible via one number: 116 000

You can call or text 116 000, even if you have no credit on your phone. You can also email 116000@missingpeople.org.uk

Our phones are answered by trained people who specialise in supporting the families and loved ones of missing adults and children.

Our team will listen and understand your unique situation, and they have the expertise to help you through a difficult time.

We’re here so you have someone to turn to whenever you need.


Search Dog Heroes can send you a scent kit ready to be filled with your loved ones details