There are few events as terrifying or traumatic as a person close to you going missing, and many people will go to the ends of the Earth to be reunited.

One of the first places people will turn to is the police, but alongside the Missing Persons Unit and charities such as Missing People that take advantage of government services and crowd-sourced information respectively, experienced expert private investigators can also help reunite missing people.

They are often key to the early stages of an investigation and can help in cases that the MPU cannot assist with and avoid delays that could make finding a missing person more difficult.

Here is how a private investigator can help find missing people who might otherwise be lost in the system.

Why Can’t The Police Help?

The MPU has a very strict definition of what they consider to be a “missing person” for the purpose of initiating an investigation, one that differs depending on which country in the UK you live in.

The definition used by police forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland defines missing persons on a scale of risk, so whilst people whose whereabouts cannot be established are all classified as missing, cases where there is no apparent risk are unlikely to be investigated.

In Scotland, the definition is stricter, requiring there to be additional circumstances where the disappearance is out of character, may be “subject to crime” (either as a victim or perpetrator) or at risk of causing harm to other people or themselves.

They also do not handle cases they describe as “lost contact”, where a friend or relative has simply stopped talking to them unless there is a risk of harm, although other services can try to help in certain circumstances.

Not all cases are personally driven; missing persons investigators can help to find people who are trying to escape debt, beneficiaries of an inheritance that may not even be aware of their windfall, as well as people who need to be served papers as part of a legal process.

How Can A Private Investigator Help?

Private investigators have expertise and ready access to information that can help in the early, golden stages of an investigation to find likely motivations and potentially likely locations.

They are legally allowed to investigate search engine enquiries and social media activity, perform background checks, search public records and get in touch with known contacts to efficiently look for any traces of a missing person.

Every case is unique in its circumstances, level of risk, complications and the types of detective work required, and will work closely with the family of the missing person as well as the police in cases which require involvement from the MPU.

Missing persons investigators will look different depending on how long the person has been missing, but private investigators can look into the traces that person left behind in short-term cases and the new routines based on old patterns in long-term cases.

As long as there is a legitimate reason to find this person private investigators offer a discreet, efficient and effective service.

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