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Missing Children (305A/22)


  • Total number of missing/found reports for children for calendar year 2017 (01/01/2017-31/12/2017) which include a breakdown of the following information:
  1. a) Date/time reported (00/00/0000 – 00:00)
  2. b) Date/time last seen (00/00/0000 – 00:00)
  3. c) Postcode district (i.e. GU1) missing from
  4. d) Age (under 18 at time of report)
  5. e) Ethnicity
  6. f) Sexuality
  7. g) Previous missing? Yes/No
  8. h) Did they go missing intentionally? Yes/No
  9. i) Child in care? Yes/No
  10. j) Disability Yes/No/Unknown
  11. k) Mental Illness Yes/No/Other
  12. l) Level of risk High/Medium/Low
  13. m) Date/time found (00/00/0000 – 00:00)
  14. n) Harm? Yes/No
  15. o) Type of harm = Physical injury/Self harm/Accidental harm/Sexual offence/Emotional harm/Found dead (or any other type listed)
  16. p) Crime? Yes/No
  17. q) Type of crime (victim of): = Sexual/Non-sexual/Property/Other (or any other type listed)

In addition, please also provide total number of missing/found reports for children for each of the following calendar years below which include a breakdown of the same information as stated above a)-q):

  • 2018
  • 2019
  • 2020
  • 2021.


Our data are not organised in such a way as to allow us to provide all of this information within the appropriate (cost) limit of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act (see ‘Reason for Decision’ below).

However, although excess cost removes the force’s obligations under the Freedom of Information Act, as a gesture of goodwill I have supplied information, relative to your request, retrieved before it was realised that the fees limit would be exceeded (see following table). I trust this is helpful, but it does not affect our legal right to rely on the fees regulations for the remainder of the request.

Children missing/found reports – 01 January 2017 to 31 December 2021:

2017 – 12,625

2018 – 10,713

2019 – 19,868

2020 – 19,103

2021 – 19,004

Beyond the above figures and due to the reason below, unfortunately I am unable to suggest any practical way in which your request may be modified in order to satisfy your query or bring it within the 18 hours stipulated by the Regulations.


Although we have been able to provide the total number of missing/found reports for children over the requested period (see table above), in order to extract the further specific details, we would need to physically enter and read each individual child’s record, followed by scanning numerous tabs. As you can see from the figures above though, this would involve manually trawling through tens of thousands of cases and such a search would hugely exceed the appropriate limit (FOIA, s.12).

This means that the cost of compliance with the whole of your request is above the amount to which we are legally required to respond, i.e. the cost of locating and retrieving the information would exceed the appropriate costs limit under section 12(1) of the FOI Act 2000. For West Midlands Police, the appropriate limit is set at £450, as prescribed by the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004, S.I. 3244.

Further information on section 12 of FOI is available here:


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