If you're worried someone is missing

Posted 1 month ago

When to worry, what to do and how we can help

Recognising when someone might be missing is a critical aspect of safeguarding our resident community. This article offers some tips for when to suspect that a fellow resident may be missing and outlines the steps to take in such situations.

Three key messages

  • Anyone whose whereabouts cannot be established will be considered as missing until located, and their wellbeing or otherwise confirmed.
  • You do not have to wait 24 hours before contacting the police.
  • If you’re worried that a fellow resident is missing, let your hall reception know so they can connect you with the duty RA or duty manager.

When is someone “missing”?

Here are key thresholds that may indicate a resident is potentially missing:

Unexplained absence

Social media silence

Missed commitments

Concern from friends and peers

Factors that may increase the level of concern

We might need to be more concerned in certain circumstances. Find out what these "red flags" are below.

Red flags

What to do

If you’re worried that a fellow resident might be missing, follow these steps:

  1. Check: Attempt to contact the individual through various means — phone calls, messages, or social media. Inquire with close friends or neighbours for any known whereabouts or explanations for the absence.
  2. Notify: Tell your hall reception and ask them to connect you with the duty Resident Advisor or duty Manager.
  3. Report: File a police missing persons report. You can do this by calling 101 or use the online reporting form. Take a note of the police reference number and share it with your hall Warden or the duty Resident Advisor or Manager.

Throughout this process, it is important to respect the person’s privacy. Actions taken should be proportional and guided by the advice of the police and your hall Warden.

What you can expect from us

  • We will take your concerns seriously.
  • We will immediately try to ascertain the whereabouts of the person by checking their room and calling their phone number.
  • We will help you file a police report, if you want us to.
  • Within the next three days, we will check access card/fob security records (where applicable), notify the university where the person studies, and get in touch with their emergency contact(s)

What we won’t do

  • If we successfully contact the person, we won’t be able to tell you this. Instead, we will let the person know that you are concerned about them, and that they should contact you directly. This is because we owe a duty of privacy to our residents.

Further resources

Missing People

Missing People is a national charity with a 24 hour helpline offering support, advice and guidance for anyone who has someone missing. They may be contacted at any stage and can help in making a police report.

College of Policing