Every year over 77,000 children go missing in the UK and unfortunately many of these little ones are not brought home immediately, or sometimes at all. Even though government organisations, charities and the police may all know when an individual child goes missing, their representatives cannot be everywhere and see everything, so ordinary citizens must play an active role in sighting missing children as well.
If you think that you have seen a missing child, report this sighting immediately, and be prepared to work with the authorities to bring the child home safely.
Report the Missing Child Sighting
If you believe that you have seen a missing child, you should Report It Immediately by calling the local police, or even placing a 999 call. Be prepared to give details of:
- Where you saw the child (the more exact the location you can supply the better).
- When you saw the child (the more exact the time you can supply the better).
- What the child was wearing.
- How the child’s hair was cut, and what colour it was.
- Any adults that were with the child, including physical descriptions.
- If you heard the child say any adult’s name.
- If you heard any adult say the child’s name.
- Why you knew/suspected that this child is missing. Did you see this child on a website or the local news? Do you think you know the child’s real name?
- Any other details you remember that you think might be helpful.
Leave the Investigation to the Experts
If you think that you have seen a missing child, your first responsibility is to call the police. It is not your responsibility to follow the child, or any adults that may be with him/her, nor would it be in anyone’s best interest for you to do so. Instead, concentrate on collecting as many details as possible regarding the sighting so that, if the police need you to testify about the incident later, you can do so to the best of your ability. Remember, you are not a professional and you could put the child in greater danger if you attempt any sort of rescue.
Be Prepared to Work with the Authorities
Reporting a missing child sighting is not a matter of a simply putting in a phone call and then going on your way. If you believe that you have seen a missing or abducted child then be prepared to work with the authorities to try to bring this child home. At the very least, you will need to spend time discussing the sighting with the police, possibly being interviewed by more than one officer or contact person.
If the child is rescued, you again may need to be interviewed and/or confirm that this is the child you had seen, and if the abductor is prosecuted there is a chance that you may need to testify in court as to what you saw. These events won’t require a significant investment of your time, but they could change the missing child’s life forever.
If you believe that you have seen a missing child, please take the time to report this sighting to the local police. These officers are the closest authorities to the sighting and they will be able to start work on the investigation immediately. You never know, all that may be standing between a missing child and his/her family is your report.