How to report a missing person

14 long-term missing persons reported in the ACT, including two involving persons missing overseas.

FOURTEEN people have been reported missing “long-term” from the ACT and police are using the 30th year of National Missing Persons Week, which began on Sunday (August 5), to raise awareness on how to report a missing person. 

Last year, ACT police received 652 reports of missing people and already in 2018 there have been 427 reports.

ACT police say the majority of people reported missing to police are located within a short period of time, usually within a week.

But detective superintendent Jamey Bellicanta says it was important to give police all the facts and circumstances related to a missing person’s disappearance, such as search efforts already made by you and others.

“[And], there is no timeframe to report someone as missing. You do not need to wait 24 hours,” he says.

“If a person’s whereabouts are unknown and there are fears for their safety or you have concerns for their welfare, contact ACT Policing immediately on 131444 or attend your local police station.”

Mr Bellicanta says the more detail provided to police, the sooner police are able to follow-up leads, and the more likely the person will be found safe and well, helping to alleviate the stress and trauma for a missing person’s relatives and friends.

“If a person’s disappearance is out of character, follow your instincts and report to police immediately,” he says.

Mr Bellicanta says in some cases the missing person isn’t aware they have been reported missing.

“While going missing is not a crime in itself, when someone does go missing, their life may be in danger and they may be at an increased risk of falling victim to a crime,” he says.

“Some people choose to go missing. If you are one of those people, we ask that you contact police and if you wish to remain estranged from your family or friends, you can do so.

“Police will notify them that you are safe and well and no details are provided.”

When reporting a missing person Mr Bellicanta says it’s important to provide police with as much detail as possible such as:

  • the day, time and location the person was last seen
  • description of the person’s appearance when they went missing – including clothing, hair colour, height, weight
  • a recent photo of the person
  • information about what occurred prior to the person going missing
  • last known contact with the person
  • names and contacts of friends and family the missing person frequently associates with
  • any medications or medical conditions the person may have
  • places the person may visit
  • mobile phone numbers of the person
  • any bank details
  • vehicles owned or known to be driven by the person


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